You are listening to My Freedom Grove podcast with Gretchen Hernandez, episode 17.
Welcome to My Freedom Grove podcast. This is where strong people, just like you come to have honest, open discussions about anxiety, depression, and frustration, but we don't stop there we go deeper by learning and applying mindset management tools to once and for all break free from the pain, so we can actually enjoy our lives. I'm your host, Gretchen Hernandez. I'm so glad you joined us.
Hi, my strong friends. This is definitely an interesting time that we're living in don't you think? I know a lot of us have people home that have never been home before, while we're trying to get our work done. And I'm one of those people. I have my husband home. I have my kids home, and I think I've shared before that I record all of my podcasts at home. I meet with all of my clients in my home office. My home office actually is a loft. So it's above the living room. It's an open space. I don't have a separate room that has a door that closes. So one of my challenges is trying to keep the sound at a reasonable level. I want to have all the privacy for everybody which I'm able to do, but sometimes the sound out of the rest of the house can start to be heard while I'm doing things.
I have dogs that are at home which they were always home before, but they're barking. It's like I try to plan out different parts of my day so that I know when the dogs will be barking and I don't plan for any calls or recordings during those times. But now that I have all of these extra variables, because it's not just my family, that's home, but it's all of my neighbors too, and tree tremors coming. And so it is so hard to keep things quiet so that I can create the type of recordings and the type of environment that I really want to be able to provide for everybody. I know I'm not the only one in this boat. It's one of those things that we all experience is that we want things to always be perfect. And that if it's not perfect, we might start to feel like I'm a failure or that what I'm doing is going to fail.
No one's going to like it now, you know, it's just not gonna work, but that's not always the case. That's why I wanted to do this episode on what if I fail, because there's a different approach that I like to try to take with everything so that I keep making progress going forward. Because if I always worry about, if I'm going to fail, I'm going to be stuck all the time. And my emotions are going to start taking over. My depression is going to kick in my anxiety over failing is going to skyrocket. So I learned several years ago, a different approach to everything that made a huge world of difference. And I mean, I'd already had some set of skillset for this throughout most of my life. But a few years ago, I had another way of looking at it that that made a profound difference in all aspects of my life.
And that's the concept of experiments. If we approach everything in life as just an experiment, there's no possible way of failing. You're always going to be doing something just to see what happens and that whatever happens, it's not good or bad. It's just what you've learned. So when I started to take this approach, anytime I do something, I'd already have an idea of what I was trying to accomplish, what I was going to try. And then after I tried it, I'd evaluate it and find out what worked, what didn't work and what would I do differently. Next time, this approach has helped me in so many aspects of my life. I started to use this with how I interact with my kids, how I interact with myself in every aspect, whether it's how I approach cleaning the house or how I approach a hard problem in my professional life or how I approach a conflict that I might be having with my husband or with anyone else out in life.
I don't have conflicts too much, but when I do, it's helpful to see it as an experiment. So I wanted to talk to you a little bit about this, on how I start to break it all down. So in today's episode, I want to try to break this down into three different sections, just to try to introduce some concepts. And this is something that we'll go into in further detail in other podcasts, maybe in some of the video series that I put out on my Facebook page, these three segments for today are going to be experiments, breaking things down into smaller pieces and then doing experiments and then expectations of figuring out what really matters. All right. So let's jump into the first one, which is experiments. When you approach things as an experiment, you're going to encounter other people around you that aren't thinking about life as an experiment or the things that you're doing in life, all of those smaller segments as an experiment, but here's the freedom.
The freedom is that when you do it as an experiment, you get to try things that you've never done before. I'm going to give you an example. So years back when I first started learning how to be a coach, one of the things that I would do is I would let my clients know that I was learning how to be a coach. And I would ask them for feedback. I'd say, I want to learn how to become the best coach. So at the end of every session, I would ask them to give me feedback of what worked, what didn't work and what could I do differently next time. Now I know this sounds like a really weird thing to do, right? Because if you have a client that has signed up with you to be a coach, that's going to kind of shake their belief, that you're a good coach and make them think, why did I even sign up with you in the first place?
If you're still trying to figure out how to be a good coach? It was so counterintuitive. But what I found was that my clients really liked this because for this particular group back then, they also were going to be coming coaches too. And so the fact that I was doing this, it helped them to learn how to be vulnerable with their clients, but also the things that they're letting me know worked and didn't work, they could think about for themselves when they went out to be a coach that if I was showing up and making all sorts of mistakes, those were things that they could learn about ahead of time. So that when it was their time, they go, Oh yeah, I remember when Gretchen totally messed it up. And they knew they could talk about it that way with me, because it's just a technique.
It doesn't mean anything about me. It's just, did I do this one technique right? You know, this other technique or this approach, right? It's I want to be totally natural in how I do things, but I also want to be effective. So it's like, I'm not gonna fake it and try to do somebody else's approach if it's not authentic to me, but I can also learn. Was there something about the approach that I thought was great, that didn't actually work for the other person? And then I could learn how to adjust accordingly so that it was still authentic for me and comfortable and felt right, but it also was effective for them. Now, when I was working in a pool of other coaches that also were learning how to be coaches so that we could coach other leaders and turn them into coaches. When I shared that I was doing this, that I was doing this feedback loop at the end of each session, I remember one of my coworkers thinking this was the most ludicrous thing he had ever heard of.
He's like, no, we're supposed to be the experts. You can't go and do that because then, you know, it's going to shake their confidence. But also they're not going to see you as the expert. And if you're not the expert that might make them think that the rest of us aren't experts either. And I was like, well, everybody knows that this was a new thing. When we were a group of facilitators and trainers, and we were seen as experts in everything we were doing, but we were told that now we had to become coaches and to be a coach is different than being a trainer or a facilitator or a project manager. Of course, we were going to have to have a learning curve. We can't go out and be experts in something that we were never doing before. There's always going to be a time where you're going to make a lot of mistakes. So if you show up thinking, you're the expert and you're making mistakes, it's gonna feel a lot worse than if you're like, Hey, I'm pretty new at this. I'm going to get out. I'm going to experiment. And then I'm going to ask them, they're the ones that experienced me doing my job to give me that direct feedback. And I told them about the response that I was getting from my clients. And he was floored. He couldn't believe that the clients actually appreciated this. So I tried to explain about the concept of shame.
Shame can be a big driver for not being vulnerable, not sharing our struggles. Now for someone that you're coaching, you know, a client or, you know, maybe it's even a friend that you're trying to be there for. That's struggling. And you're taking on the role of a coach. If you're just pointing out all of the things that are wrong with how they're doing things, they're going to feel a lot of shame. So they're not going to want to open up to you. They're not going to share all the things that they are going through or how they're really feeling, because the shame feels so awful.
But when you, as a coach can be vulnerable and share where you've had struggles and you share your authentic feelings, it dissolves the shame for you and for the other person, because the other person realizes that you're human too. And that if you had those struggles, it's okay that they had those struggles too. And they start to open up and feel more comfortable, and they're going to talk about their stuff. And it's only once everybody can actually talk honestly about the things that they're struggling with and their feelings and not feel like they're going to get judged. That's the only time they're going to open up. That's the only time we can actually start working on all of this stuff. So think about things as an experiment, be willing to share with other people about what your experiments are and share all of the things that didn't work, because you're going to help someone else when they're struggling through everything too.
So it's okay. Right? Because it feels so good when we're talking about our own struggles, because someone else might let us know a way that they've handled something we can learn from them. Like we can actually learn from the people that we're coaching on other ways of doing things. It's a pretty interesting way of approaching it. I have learned so much from my clients because they've been so honest with me on how I could improve, because I always want to do better. Another resistance that you might find out in the world is that people kind of get stuck in their ways or think there's only one way of doing things. So for example, I'm out in the coaching world, independent coach now, and I see the way that other people provide programs. It's very structured. It's, here's this end goal that, that you must want.
And I want for you hear all this, the exact steps that you have to take and do them, and you're going to have that result. What if that's not the result that you want? Or what if those aren't the steps that are going to work for you? None of that is an experiment. That's just doing what somebody else did. It's something that worked for them, or maybe even they heard that it worked for somebody else. So now they're just telling you, these are the steps that you take. So again, back when I first started doing all of this years back, and I was with a group of folks, and we were trying to figure out how to do all of this. We had our old ways of doing things because we were teachers facilitators, project managers, and we were really good at what we were doing.
So then showing up in a different way, felt completely wrong because we had had so much success just one way. And it was very structured. It had specific steps that you had to follow. Hello. It was repeatable. It always gave the same result, but that wasn't the objective anymore. The objective that we had as coaches was to develop other people's capacity to learn it was to help them to find their own answers, their own way of making it work. And it was really hard for some of our clients too, because they just wanted to be told, what are the step by step instructions? What am I supposed to do? That guarantees my success, but see that's what a teacher does. Right? I know I was in a teacher role. I could do that for people. A coach is a different role. A coach is someone that is definitely going to develop your capability, empower you to be able to figure it out.
So my approach is a lot different than what I'm seeing out in the industry today, because I'm seeing a lot of step-by-step approaches and I'm like, well, but that's not what I do. I help people figure out what it is that they want for themselves and figure out what they would want to do to experiment, to get closer to the result that they want. So it's really an interesting phenomenon because I still have people coming to me going, Oh, well, what are the step-by-step, what am I supposed to be doing? And I'm like, well, they don't like that. I give them a bunch of questions and I help them to figure it out. Actually, I shouldn't say that I've only had one person that at first didn't like it. So he was kind of confused because he had never experienced it before. But once I explained it probably about three or four times on how this actually works, he got it.
And he really appreciated it. And it's like, well, I can show you like overall, like a path of how other people have done what you're trying to do, but you get to choose what you want to do. You're going to figure out a way that works exactly for you because everybody learns in a different way. There's some people that like to learn by reading. There's some people that like to learn through videos. There's some people that learn best by doing. And a lot of what people are coming to me for are things that they haven't learned before. They're trying to figure out some impossible puzzle that they've never figured out. It might be a relationship thing with someone in their family, or maybe they're trying to figure out how to start a new business. All of those can be figured out. And there's probably a series of steps.
It's just figuring out what are the right steps. And then I've got this whole plethora of tools that can apply to all sorts of things. But first we have to figure out what is it that someone wants and then break it all down and then start figuring out a series of experiments. And then the tools might come in handy for those particular experiments. But you never know until you figure out what it is that you actually want to work on in that moment, everybody's brain works in a different way. There's some people that like to go step by step by step. And there are some people that like to do a little bit on a whole bunch of different steps, because sometimes when you do a little bit on a whole bunch of different steps, you learn things that you can take back to an earlier step that makes that step better.
So I'm going to give an example. I'm one of those that likes to work a little bit on multiple steps at the same time, but that can get really overwhelming. So one of the things that I started to do was keep a series of binders. So I have binders, but I also have some stuff using like Google drive. So I have spreadsheets and stuff that keep different thoughts that I have going on. Different experiments that I'm working on, different measurements that I'm working on, but the binders, that was something that I had to implement because I found, I love to just write everything out. You know, I'm a dry erase board kind of person. So I'm always writing stuff out there, but I'm also writing a ton of stuff on pieces of paper. And I'd find that at the end of the day, I could have a stack of at least 50 pages when I'm going through a creative process, but they might be on 12 different topics.
I found a system that worked for me was just to allow myself to write and write and write all day so that I could get everything out. And then I would take time to sort it all out into these different binders and different tabs within the binder. So that when I'm trying to find that specific thing, that I could go back and find it. But I was also making progress on a bunch of things at the same time, because you never know when your creativity is going to hit, you might be stuck on one step, but you have all sorts of stuff for the other steps. So it's just one way of learning how to work with how your brain already works. There are some people that are productivity experts that will say, Nope, you can't do that. There's no discipline there. And you know, there might be a little bit of truth to that.
You know, there are some things that I want to implement because I think that having a routine on certain things or is going to get me further, because that is one of the things that I worked with people also. But I also have to make sure that I'm allowing myself enough creative space to do things. Okay. So thinking about what is your thinking style, what works best for you and what kind of systems can you put in place for yourself? You know, are you a step by step kind of a person and you like to complete one step first before you go on to the next one that totally works. Are you someone that wants to see what is the whole set of stuff that you need to learn? And then you start doing a deep dive on each thing. That's okay, too. There's some people that they don't want to know about the other stuff later on, because it gets so overwhelming.
They only want to know about this stuff that they need to do right now. And that's okay. What type of person are you, how do you like to think about things? How does your brain like to organize things? And can you tell, when is it working for you and when is it not? So like my binder system that I talked about, there might be times for me when that doesn't work for me. And when would I know to pivot to doing something else? So I mentioned that I have some different spreadsheets and such on Google drive. There are some things where like, I like to collect metrics to know, am I making progress? Am I moving the right needles? That's something that I have a unique way that I like to connect that with the different experiments that I'm doing that works better in a spreadsheet thing online.
Cause I can see it better than if I have it written on multiple pages within a binder. So it's just learning how to work with your brain. Another thing to think about, if you're trying to follow somebody else's step by step process, they might be asking you to do things in a way that feels totally unnatural for you. I've had this happen to me a couple of times, for example, I've had so many people giving me great ideas, ideas for how I can meet more people that might be interested in some of the work that I do. One suggestion that has been coming through from multiple people is that I should become a public speaker going out to organizations and giving speeches, and then seeing if anybody would like any additional help. Well, that might've been something that worked for them, but I had to evaluate, is that something that felt right for me?
And here's why is that? If it's something that doesn't feel right for me, the energy that I'm going to give off to the crowd is going to feel really wonky. It's not going to feel comfortable. There's other ways that I can meet people that does feel comfortable and when I'm comfortable, boy, it sure does feel good to have conversations with people. I found that I really liked to talk with people one on one. So I know some of you have already experienced this where I've reached out and started to just have conversations with you over like Facebook messenger. And it's just getting to know people that feels good, that feels authentic. Whereas going out on, you know, a world tour to all sorts of different stages, that doesn't feel right with them. It doesn't feel authentic, maybe some point in the future that might be, but it's just not at right now.
I really like the smaller, more intimate gatherings. I've mentioned about how I want to have a men's wellness retreat. At some point I feel comfortable getting up in front of several hundred people that I already have that connection with and being able to talk and just have a conversation. You know, I might be up on a stage in front of a whole bunch of people, but it's still just a conversation with a room full of friends because I've already met everybody. I've already had all of those connections that feels authentic to me. So when you're thinking about all of the things in life that you have to do, whether it's at work at school, if you're pursuing, creating your own type of business, what are those things that feel right for you? That it's a right choice. And there's so many different things that you could experiment with that you do find the thing that resonates with you so that you can show up as your authentic self and put off the right kind of energy that feels comfortable for you and everybody else around you.
Now let's talk about breaking things down into smaller chunks. So I'm one of those people that get so much energy. When I have solved a really impossible puzzle or I've moved a mountain, there was a song, I think it was from Big Hero Six from fallout boy called Uma Thurman. And it starts off saying I can move mountains. I can work a miracle. Oh my gosh, I get so much energy from that because I love doing big, huge things that people think are not possible. And the way that I do it is by breaking it down into smaller chunks. Now a mountain of stuff can feel so overwhelming, but when you break it down where it's so small that it's like, okay, for today, I need to record a podcast. Okay, well, that's not as scary as, okay. I need to go out and create a business and do all of this type of stuff and bring in a whole bunch of clients that can feel really overwhelming, but creating one podcast.
Now in the beginning, I have to admit creating a podcast seemed huge. It was my own mountain there for awhile, but I broke that down into smaller steps too, of, okay, well what would I use to record it now? I don't think I've shared with you guys. I actually record these on an iPad. When I started learning this whole industry, people were saying, Oh, you need this kind of microphone in that kind of microphone. And yeah, I went and I grabbed the big microphone and I thought, okay, I have this. Now I'm going to have success. But it was an experiment. I recorded on that. And then I listened to it and you know what? It sounded really awful. I didn't like it. But when I recorded on an iPad, all of a sudden the sound was so much warmer because I didn't want to sound like I was in a 10 can.
I didn't want that cold feeling because I'm a very warm person. I love giving hugs. I wanted my voice to come across sounding like I was giving you guys a hug because I know how hard the world can get. And it's so nice to come in and just feel warm and invited. And if I can provide that just through the recording quality, then that's fantastic. I also had to figure out where I wanted to record it. So full disclosure, I recorded in my bedroom because it has the best acoustics. So it's breaking things down into tiny little pieces. So I had a location I had what kind of device I had, what kind of music I wanted to have. Now, when I'm thinking of the overall business of launching a business, these are so tiny yet can also feel like it's insurmountable, but breaking it down into something really small and allowing myself to do multiple experiments to try to figure out what is it that feels right for me has been so helpful.
So I know that by the time that I have everything up and running exactly how I want it to be, the number of experiments is probably going to be in the hundreds. When I started talking about experiments with coworkers years ago, when I was first learning this concept and they are trying to learn it too, there was a lot of resistance to it because it can seem overwhelming the number of experiments to have going on at any given time. And that's where the concept of constraining comes in is picking what's that first step in your path of where you're going to, that you really want to move the needle on. So that's why having some type of a measurement on your step is really important so that you know, that your experiments are actually contributing to moving the right needles. Otherwise you're doing experiments all over the place that aren't connected to what your end goal is.
This takes a little bit of planning though, because you have to think what's this mountain that I wanted to move in the first place. Again, it could be a relationship. It could be, you know, a financial thing. It could be getting a different house. It could be a different career, whatever it is of breaking it down into the most basic steps. And I don't mean like a, to do checklist type of thing. I mean like I need to figure out this piece or I need to learn this piece. And then once you break it down into its individual step, does that step need to be broken down into smaller steps? It's a bit of a planning exercise, but it really does put things into more manageable experiments and helps you to make progress because when you're facing all of it and you're not feeling like you're making progress, you want to start to give up.
But when you have it broken down into those small little pieces, you get to start having wins every single day because you do an experiment. Just the fact that you completed an experiment that day is a win. And then you've learned something you learned what worked, what didn't work, what you could do differently, and you can decide, do I need to do another experiment or have I actually figured out my solution? Like when I figured out the iPad was the best way for me, I had experimented, I think with three or four different things. But once I figured out iPad, it was like, all right, check, that one is done. Then I never have to think about that part again, once I figured out the location I had tried in my office, I had tried out in the living room. And then once I tried in my bedroom, it was like, Oh, that worked.
That gave me the sound I wanted check done, moved on. And after a while, it's like, yeah, I have a whole bunch of experiments where I learned a bunch, but it didn't give me the solution I wanted. But now I'm also accumulating all of the solutions that did work. So I actually keep a wind log of what were all of those wins. So when meaning a solution that I finally figured out that worked for me and that list starts getting so long that on those days when it's so hard, when you're like this mountain is just so hard and I just want to give up, I can look back at my Win log and go, Oh my gosh, I have 75 wins just in the last 30 days. That's amazing because true, when you're trying to do something really hard, figure out a really hard puzzle or move a mountain.
You're going to have those days when it just is too much. And you just want to give up. But if you have created a system for yourself so that you can see your incremental progress in moving forward and all of your wins, it's going to help you to keep going for the long haul. Because if it's something you really, really want, you're gonna figure it out. Now, this last part is talking about expectations. So when we're thinking about failures, it's because we think that there's an expectation either by ourselves or by someone one else. And I want to tell you, Oh, we do a lot of making up other people's expectations in our own head. We assume what other people want. We assume that there's only one particular perfect that is going to work for them. And that if we haven't created that, it's going to be a failure.
So I've mentioned many times about the sound. When I started doing these podcasts, I thought I couldn't have any other sound in the background that it had to be just crystal clear. You just hear my voice. You don't hear all of this sounds, which you'll notice. You'll hear in my podcast. Now you wouldn't get to hear all of my breath, everything. So when I first started, I edited my first podcast and it took me, gosh, I don't know, seven hours to edit, to try to take out all of those extra sounds. I had to rerecord a whole bunch of stuff. I was, Oh my gosh, it me five hours just to write a script for what to even say on a podcast. But what this current pandemic has taught me was that it really doesn't matter. All of the stuff going on in the background really doesn't matter.
You see people doing all of these zoom calls. Now, whether it's reporters, TV, hosts, businesses, schools, you get to see everybody's backgrounds of what's going on. You get to see how they're showing up on camera. One of the things that I stressed over for the longest time when I was first sitting at my office was what should my background look like? Oh my gosh, I held myself back from making videos for the longest time, or even having calls with anybody, video calls with anybody. Cause I was worried that my background wouldn't look professional enough now that I see everybody out and doing all of their stuff, like why did I even worry about that in the first place? Because honestly the person that's on the other side that wants to talk to you, they just want to talk to you. They just want to see you.
They want to have that interaction. Sure. Having a nice background is nice and it might give people an impression about you, but that's really not. What's important at all. What's important is you and you showing up and being comfortable. One of the things that I started to do this week was interview potential clients because I thought I knew exactly what was the most important things to them. I had all sorts of products and services that were available to folks and I wanted to find out what really was the most important. So I started interviewing people and it was fascinating to learn that everything that I thought was important, wasn't important at all. I am learning what is the most important to them? And it's stuff that would be so much easier to do than the things that I was doing. It was fascinating. I loved it.
I loved connecting with them. I'm hoping to connect with a whole bunch more people that would be willing to answer a couple of questions for me so that I can make sure that whatever I create is exactly what you guys need, because that's why I'm doing this is to be there to support you guys. And if I'm not getting it right, Oh my gosh, I'm wasting so much time. Right? I realized that over the last six months that there's some stuff that really is working, but there's other stuff that I was doing, that it wasn't working. It wasn't as helpful. I could have spent my time doing other things. If I had decided to slow down and ask other people what they needed and what their expectations were like, one of the things is with my crazy dogs. Got my five dogs here. And I was so worried about the sounds that they would make. And yet I was on a call earlier this week and my dog started making a whole bunch of noise. And I thought, Oh no, this is it. And so I decided instead to ask the person that I was talking to, could they hear my dogs? And his response was yes, but they're not bothering me.
That might not be the case for everybody that I talked to. So now I might just ask, let them know ahead of time. Hey, I have dogs. They might start barking because I do have a home office. Let me know if it's too much. Because most of the time my dogs don't bark, but sometimes they do. But it was really interesting to learn that it was something that the other person couldn't really hear that much anyway. And that even though they could hear it, that it wasn't that big of a deal. So for any of you that are now working from home or have always wanted to work from home, but you've been worried about the sound that's going on in your house or what it looks like, or any of that other stuff, ask the people that you would want to be working with, what their needs are and what are things that would be distractors. Things that they decide. No, they don't want to work with you because of, because you might be surprised it might be a lot easier than you think it is. I'm sure you could probably hear my dogs on the podcast today. I'm sure that that's going to be okay,
Because many of you have told me that that's okay. And if it's not, then you'll have already decided that today is the podcast that you would skip.
Anyway, my friends, I hope that you get out there, you start breaking down your big mountains into smaller pieces. He started thinking about how could I do an experiment on this one? And then after you do that experiment, what worked, what didn't work? What could you do differently if it's that you run out of ideas for experiments. I hope that you start reaching out to other people saying, Hey, I'm trying to solve this one type of thing. What could I try? What can I experiment with and know that just because it worked for them doesn't mean that it will work for you, but you could give it a try and see does it work for you? Did you like it or not? And if not, you go on to the next thing and just take it one experiment at a time, start collecting your wins and feeling a lot better. Have a fantastic week. I'll talk with you again next week. Bye bye. Thank you for listening to My Freedom Grove podcast. I hope this podcast, you some
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