You undoubtedly have goals for your speaking career. Maybe you want to speak in front of your dream organization within the next year; maybe you want to land three great gigs for 2019. Regardless of your goals, you have to take action to meet them – without being prevented by overthinking, self-doubt, and other obstacles along the way.
On this episode, master certified life coach Kara Loewentheil joins me to talk about how she used a combination of thought work and “massive action” to craft a uniquely resonant message and build an amazing practice. Kara is a feminist confidence coach and has grown her business revenue to seven-figures in just three years. She also has a super-successful podcast, Unf*ck Your Brain, which has been her main platform for public speaking and a huge boon for her business.
Kara and I talk about how she's refined her message over time and how rebranding her podcast, leaning into massive action, and staying true to her own voice have helped her build such a powerful platform. She also shares what it takes to get her to travel for a speaking gig, and why she prefers interacting with an audience to speaking at them. We all need that friend, coach, or role model in our lives that just tells it like it is, and Kara is that coach!
You are listening to the Speak So It Matters Podcast. Episode number 32.
Welcome to Speak So It Matters where we share a mix of stories of inspiration and super practical public speaking and communication guidance to help you release all the barriers to becoming the speaker you know you're meant to be. Some of us are called to use our voice, to serve others, and our world, as well as to become the most fully expressed version of ourselves. If that's you, you've landed in the right place. Let's do this, my friends.
One quick note to listeners who may be listening to this episode in your car with young ears, there is some swearing in this episode. So if that's not something you want them listening to, then you may want to save this episode for another time. But be sure to mark it. Because it's a good one.
My amazing speaker friends, so you know how you dream up all these things you want to do like get on that amazing stage with some of the icons in your industry, for example, or start a super popular podcast that people can't get enough of, or build a million dollar business? I mean, just for example. Well, we get to hear from the woman who did all that. Not only that, but she's so real about it, we get to just grab those useful gems and carry them into our own lives. So today I spoke to Kara Loewentheil. Kara Loewentheil is a master certified coach and host of the Unf*ck Your Brain Podcast. Three years ago, she did what every Jewish parent dreams of for their child. She left her legal career running a think tank to become a life coach. Now she teaches feminist women how to undo the effects of patriarchy in their brains and create true, authentic confidence from inside. She has grown her coaching business from zero to seven figures in the last three years. And she's passionate about teaching women how to overcome anxiety and self-doubt so they can take on the world.
Oh my gosh, I wish I'd written that. So brilliant, right? We cover so much good ground in this conversation and I cannot wait to share it with you. But before we dive in, I want to make sure you know about the webinar that I'm hosting this week. Because if you're listening to this on release day, on Wednesday, December 12th, then the webinar is tomorrow, Thursday, December 13th. And it's called Get Great Speaking Gigs in 2019. I'm basically going to walk you through the simple but super useful process we use to discover the right speaking gigs for our clients and help our clients find those speaking gigs for themselves. And also, this is the process I use for myself as well. And some of the most successful ways to reach out to the right people to offer to speak on their stages. So both how to find those and then how do you reach out in a way that really creates the right kind of connection. I'm super excited about this because this is the question that I get most often. How do I get great speaking gigs? And this is happening tomorrow. Again, assuming you're listening on release day, which is December 12. So go ahead and sign up now at michellebarryfranco.com/speakingwebinar. All one word.
Okay, let's get to the juicy stuff.
Hello, my speaker friends. This is our super lucky day because we get to talk with Kara Loewentheil, the brilliant coach, speaker, and podcast superstar of Unf*ck Your Brain stardom. If you look her up, use an asterisk where the U is as Kara says, “It's spelled the polite way.” There are so many reasons I wanted to have Kara on our podcast that it's hard to lead with just one of them. So I'm gonna tell you three. She is a fabulous speaker. Online and offline. So I'm gonna ask her to share with us where these gigs and opportunities come from. A little bit about how she prepares, but also how does she decide which ones to take and not take. Number two, she has a podcast with more than a million downloads in one year. So we want to talk about how did she do that. I'm gonna ask her questions about that and I'll be taking lots of my own mental notes. And then third, she is a confidence coach for women and I love how she thinks and talks about our brain and why we struggle to do what we want in our lives, like get on that awesome stage and blow them away with your gorgeous message.
So I know this is gonna be a conversation rich with wisdom and delights. Let's get to it.
Kara, I'm so happy you're here. Welcome.
Thank you. I'm happy to be here.
Yeah. So first, if we could talk about your message because I know that you didn't start with your current message. What was your early message and how did you land on that one and then just as it evolves, then what?
Yeah. So when I started coaching and speaking, I focused on lawyers. And I was specifically focused on lawyer stress and kind of women associates who often leave especially big law firm life because they're so stressed out and overwhelmed. So there were definitely similarities to what I do now, but I really started focusing a lot on stress and anxiety specifically with lawyers. And then kind of over time, I kept working on that but then I also kept finding that I wanted to do kind of related work. So I kept wanting to do body image coaching or I did a dating course. And so what I realized was that what I really was working on was kind of self-image and self-confidence in the high achieving women. The lack of which manifests as a lot of anxiety and stress. And so I ended up kind of synthesizing all of that.
And through some strategy and then some trial and error, figuring out that kind of feminist confidence coaching was the bucket in which kind of what I was doing made the most sense. And so I kind of rebranded and transitioned my business and my kind of thought leadership area. And so now I really work on helping women understand that sort of that a lot of their self-critical thoughts that some of it is caused by evolutionary biology and a lot of the kind of background that goes into cognitive behavioral science and theory. But that also a lot of it is gender socialization. And that the messages that we pick up from society, we internalize without realizing it and then they kinda come out of the muck like they're our own personal thoughts. And so teaching them how to identify those and how to literally rewire their brains to produce authentic confidence.
Well I have 16 places I kind of wish I could put a marker and just say, “Oh, let's go that way. Let's go that way.” And I know we're gonna touch more on that last part as we move along because of course so much of that crappy thinking, you said it way better than that, but is what gets in the way, right? Like of just those who are called really want to get out there and speak. What gets in the way of doing it. So I'm excited for us to dive deeper on that. But going back to the earlier part of your answer and if you can just one of the things that people who are listening or some of the people who listen to this podcast struggle with is just landing on a message. They're just like … I mean, they know they're in the realm. It's not like oh it could be anything. But it feels like a really big deal. It feels like they have to have it all buttoned up and nailed before they can get out there with it. And you didn't … Because that'll happen in a pretty short time frame, right?
Yes and no in terms of it all happening in a short period of time. I definitely hear a lot from my clients and from other coaches I'm starting to do more work with. Baby coaches, as I call them. They may not be babies, but just coaches who are not getting traction in their business. And it's that desire to have it all figured out and perfect before you go out there. But the truth is there are some … And please believe me. I understand that thought pattern. That's what lawyers are taught is that you never put anything out until it's perfect and near approachable. So I definitely had that mindset in my first year of business. But some things are only capable of learning through iteration and not in theory. Right and so I actually think that you can't figure out your message in a vacuum without talking. And this is just like you taught me this when we worked together in terms of it's true for speaking also. You have to talk through it because talking through it and giving it is different than writing it. And I think the same thing is true for developing your message.
I did kind of find success pretty quickly when I changed my message, when I rebranded. But partly that's because I had already found success in my first niche. So I had done the long … Well, it was only about a year, but it felt like forever. Done the slog to that first whatever your landmark is. For coaches, I think it tends to be your first 100k in revenue where you're hustling that whole time. So I had already done that. And when I first rebranded, the program name as not changed. It was still Unf*ck Your Brain. But the first round of the program, I sold it for three months and I was doing a lot of webinars and a lot of communicating about it. Trying to figure out what was I doing here. It all sounds great in your one day business retreat when it's on the whiteboard, right? But then you've gotta [inaudible 00:09:20] and it's just like a one sentence summary.
But then you gotta figure out how you're gonna talk about it to help other people explain. And it actually did go through some iterations. Like I started out talking about the four mindfucks of patriarchy. I still talk about those and teach those kind of. But what I discovered was really that it was too vague. So Unf*ck Your Brain, it was like for what? What? It's catchy, so I had that going for me, but it wasn't really clear exactly what I was doing. And I think that first, filling that first, the program the first time was the hardest because of that. And my webinars weren't really successful because it wasn't really a clear one sentence takeaway. It just was kind of like these are the ways that … The way you hear me talk about it now has come through refinement. But it wasn't until really until I figured out … For instance, I could not get a working Facebook ad and marketing funnel together based on Unf*ck Your Brain when it was vague. It was only when I really dialed into oh it's feminist confidence coaching. And of course, what I do has way more to do with than confidence
. But it wasn't until I got so that my opt in or my webinar became not Unf*ck Your Brain period, which what does that mean? But would be like the number one trick to creating true self-confidence, right? It only happened through trying and being like, “Oh, this is vague. Or people don't seem to understand it. Or I don't even know what I'm saying.” So I totally understand it. But the whole reason we want to have it perfect is so that we can think that we're gonna succeed. And the truth is that you have to practice thinking you're succeeding even while you're failing. Because that's … Failing is part of succeeding and you have to fail before you get to the success. And you cannot workshop your way to a perfect message with just you, and your coach, and your three best friends.
Yes. Okay. We could just … Thank you very much. I'm so glad we had Kara here today. Yes.
I mean, it's … There are lots of things about speaking that we can talk about. And we'll talk about some of them. But this thing at the center of it, especially that whole you cannot workshop your message with your coach and your three best friends. Yes. And it's scary. So how did you go do it anyway and just be willing to go out there even when you knew it was messy and you didn't know? What did you have to think or what'd you do with your brain?
Well, I think you don't even know it's messy till you try. Right it's like, “Oh, it sounds great to me.” And then I was like, “Why can't I write this webinar slide? Oh, because I don't actually know what I'm saying.” You sort of think you know what you're saying. So I am … Anyone who's heard me on any other podcast, I almost always end up talking about the same thing which is your thoughts create your reality. But also massive action. And so massive action, the way that I teach it and define it, it's not a tool I made up. I got it from my teachers, who got it from their teachers. But the way that I teach it and define it is that you commit to continuing to take action until you have the result. And that sounds really simple, but it's actually really profound because what it means is it doesn't matter how many times you fuck up. It doesn't matter if you try the right thing first. You don't need to know which thing is the right thing. You literally just need to know what next thing can you try.
And for me, I know when someone has committed to mass … Like in my clients, I can see so clearly if they're truly committed to mass of action and if they're not. And it's not based on whether they have the result yet, because often they don't. It's based on whether they are worrying about what they should do next or what the right thing is to do. If they're worrying about that, they're not committed to mass of action because they're still trying to figure out what is the perfect way to do it, what's the next thing they can do, what if it doesn't work, they're still worried about that. When you are committed to mass of action, when you truly are committed to whatever it takes, you don't really care whether you have the right next fit. You're just like, “I'm just gonna do one thing. If that doesn't work, I'm gonna do a second thing. If that doesn't work, I'm gonna do a third thing.” You're not even worried about it.
So for me, I really committed to mass of action. I had my goal was I think getting 25 people in there. And I was just like, “I'm gonna have to do whatever it takes. I don't even know what that is yet, but I'm gonna try one thing and if that doesn't get me there, I'm gonna try the next thing, and then I'm gonna try the next thing, and then I'm gonna try the next thing.” And so when you really commit to it, it kind of solves perfectionism because it doesn't matter if you know what the right thing to do is. It's like you're gonna hit it eventually if you keep trying.
Yeah. So how … I mean, there must've been some discernment process I would imagine around, between ideas. Right? Because I'm trying to imagine what people … Is that right?
I'm not really sure there's that much discernment because that's where people get paralyzed is trying to figure out what is the best thing to do. You can spend four days trying to figure out what's the best thing to do or you can spend those four days trying 10 things and one of them or two of them will work. And you'll still have saved time. So I actually don't think … I mean, assuming that your ideas are within reason. But for instance in this particular story, some of your listeners, if they've heard me elsewhere may have heard me tell it. But I did a business retreat. A one day business retreat, which was great. The strategic part of it was great and the ideas we came up with. And then I came out of it with this supposedly full proof marketing plan that involved using a particular Facebook ad person, sending people to a webinar, getting a certain number on the webinar, a certain number would sign up. And that didn't happen. I mean, I spent the money on the Facebook ads, but I did not get the people.
So I really just had to be like, “Okay, what's next?” And I do feel like I tried everything I had ever seen another coach do. Like I did a challenge with a Facebook group and I coached people in there. And I did a free coaching call that people could sign up for. And I did … And I ran promotions. And I just did everything I could think of. And if I had spent any of that time, there was literally no way for me to know ahead of time which of those things would've worked. So if I had sat around trying to use my discernment trying to figure out what's the best thing to do, I would not have filled the group. Because a lot of … If you're anybody who's selling anything, and I think that even includes your speaking services, marketing requires experimentation. So sitting around thinking about it just really doesn't get you anywhere in my experience. I am constantly surprised by what people love that I do and what I think is great. And I try to sell it. And they're like, “No thanks.”
So tell us something. I just keep thinking, “Okay, no discernment. No discernment.” I can see that. I definitely see how experimentation is the path. Just try to see this. So what's something that you tried and you were like … You just wouldn't have imagined it would've been great and people loved it or it got traction?
Well, I think everything's amazing. And then when people don't want things I'm like, “What?” So I'm trying to think if there's anything that I've done that I didn't think people would like. The podcast has blown up a lot faster than I thought. But I constantly do stuff. I tried to sell … I mean, admittedly I was way too short notice. It was like a week. But I was gonna do a holiday survival masterclass. And the copy was great. And multiple coaches on my list were emailing me about how great the copy was. I had 10,000, 12,000 people on my email list. Maybe 15. And two people signed up in the first few days.
They were just like, “No.” And in retrospect, I can look at that and I looked that and I looked at it and tried to figure out what it was. And I think it was like I had kind of lost my positioning a little bit. It wasn't my voice. And kind of everybody in the world teaches a holiday survival masterclass. But I really couldn't have figured that out ahead of time. You just have to get that feedback. And I don't know. It really depends on what your problem is. But most of the people who come to me at least, not practicing discernment is not their problem. Their problem is they are constantly trying to discern in order to not feel bad about themselves and they're just spending their whole life doing that.
I'm so glad I used that word.
Yeah, me too.
I just think it's perfect because it is. I mean, obviously the question that came to my mind is … I mean it is. I think it's true. And I think I even have remanence of it even though I'm totally … My experience mirrors yours around the less I think about it and just freaking try it, the more success I find. Not in any one thing. No. Sometimes it's like, “Whoa, okay. That didn't work.” But overall.
Yeah. It's just the aggregate. Right. That's what I'm saying. If you take 10 actions and two of them work, you have two working things.
Yeah, that's awesome.
You sit around thinking for a week and you do one thing, best case scenario it works. You still only have one working thing.
Yeah, exactly. And then you keep trying to go down. And if it did work, I mean this is the thing that I also see. If it did work, you keep trying to go down that path. And when it doesn't work next time because it's not that thing that caused it. Who the hell knows what causes any particular outcome. But back to … Although all of this is gonna so ring. I just know it. The whole message process is example the same, right? It's like you try it, you see what happens, you try it with different audiences. And you just listen in to yourself and you listen to those audiences and see how it all goes.
Yeah, I mean, I've totally given talks where I was like, “This is gonna kill,” and then the room was just staring at me like, “What?” You know?
And then I say stuff that I'm like, “Oh my god, they've heard this a million times.” And everybody's like, “That was life changing.” You just …
You really don't know.
Yeah. So let's talk about your life changing speaking and tell me … Like I know that you do some speaking and you're pretty discerning about … There's some places where discernment is used
So talk to me about what kind of speaking you like to do, how you decide which ones to do.
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Well, I think a lot of this also depends on what you're using speaking for. And I am a coach primarily. That's my primary source of revenue. And in terms of spreading my message, I have a podcast. So speaking for me is not like, “Oh, any chance to spread my message.” And I don't personally use speaking as a way to necessarily generate new clients. So I prefer to think of speaking … The way that I think about speaking for my business is I don't do a speech for free hoping I'll get clients. Right, I'm like it has to be an amount of money that's worth it for me to go speak. And I have a million dollar business and so the amount that it's worth it for me to fly to … Somebody invited me to come to a business convention somewhere in Utah. And I was just like … It was three hours from Salt Lake City Airport. It was not even close to an airport. For me, it was more … And this isn't just speaking is true. For a lot of things that I get asked to do is just what is it worth it to me? How much is it worth it to me to fly to Utah?
And with speaking for me and … It's like traveling also. You're almost always going somewhere else. It's two to three days out of your schedule. So I'm probably speak less than anybody who identifies as a speaker. But also some of it has been learning what I like over time. And you and I have talked about this before. I get invited all the time to speak to legal … Because I started with lawyers … What I find is you're speaking invitations lag a year or two behind your business. So it's like when I was a lawyer coach and all I wanted was to get invited to speak at law firm retreats and stuff, nobody asked me. And now that I don't do it anymore, that's all anybody asks me to do. So maybe that's lawyers in specific because they're so … It takes them a long time to trust you.
No, I think that's true. I think that actually totally mirrors experience with other clients. And not just the audience type. It's where you are in your business. You're like, “I'm willing to speak for free or lower paying,” and they're good. They would be really good on those stages. But they're not being pulled onto the stages. Well by the time they're super successful people are like, “Hey, can you come be on our stage?” And you're like, “No, why didn't you ask me last year?”
Right. Can you come to our rotary club meeting?
Yeah, I get a lot of those. Will you come speak to the 12 people in my knitting club and I'm like, “I love that you have a knitting club, why don't you guys listen to the podcast?”
Yes, while you knit.
Yeah. So I don't do … I don't love doing those kind of law firm retreat type deals. Or kind of legal conferences are a little bit better. But my kind of coaching is very … I like to be able to interact with my audience and I like to be in a situation where people are willing to kind of be vulnerable and share. And I find that in very corporate or professional environments, people are not willing to do that understandably. So the way that I speak, I think it's so much more effective for me if I can have somebody in the audience who's willing to give an example and I can work with it. So I use that also as part of how I decide. I'm much more likely to except an invitation that … Even if it's for a lawyers or professional women or something. But it's not at their work place. I don't want to be at the whatever firm retreat. Now if it's a conference for women lawyers where people are gonna be a little more … Feel a little less constrained, so that to me matters. That context to where it's worth traveling to. And yeah. And compensation. I mean, at this point, spending three days to go somewhere and give a talk is a pretty big ask for me.
Yeah. Yeah. And I think that's why also … I mean, there's all kinds of speaking, right? So many of us think of getting on the stage. And that is what I was asking you about the sort of travel somewhere often but not always, get on the stage, deliver to an audience. But you have used public speaking in the podcast form super powerfully in your business. So I'd love to have you share about that. Just how'd you decide? There's a lot of people who listen to this podcast that want to start podcasts. How'd you decide to do a podcast and how did it become so successful so fast?
Yeah, well my podcast started. It was for lawyers and it was called The Lawyer Stress Solution. And that was the first six months of its life basically. And how did I start the podcast? I mean, I guess there are some coaches as podcasts don't really help their business. But a lot of the coaches I know, their podcasts have been really essential. And well if you do your own editing, it truly is free. I do not do my own editing, but getting a Facebook ad funnel working is a long time and financially consuming process in my opinion compared to a podcast. And I was not … Now I understand that part of that had to do with how I was approaching it. But I was not getting a ton of traction in the kind of Facebook ad to email marketing realm. And so that podcast … I've always … I mean I like teaching, I like talking. I've always been a pretty good teacher. So it just seemed like a kind of natural way. Although that's not say that I didn't procrastinate for a year doing it.
so then I started doing it and it really my … It impacted my business pretty significantly and pretty quickly. I just started getting requests and people finding me. And at that time, I was still doing mini sessions and one on one coaching. Consult calls and one on one coaching. So there was an uptick pretty immediately from that. And then I really didn't do it for that long before I rebranded it. It was like six months. And then when I rebranded it is when I really exploded. So the first six months, the podcast probably had 22,000 downloads total. And then after I rebranded, within the first year of rebranding it, it hit a million. So it was definitely … I mean, it's a much bigger audience and I think I'm just more passionate about it and that comes through.
But the big question I think that we all have is how did that many people find it? Like did some special thing happen where-
No, I know. No, our shared podcast producer has always asked me. He's like, “I need to replicate this for my other clients.”
And I'm like, “I don't know.” I honestly don't know. People just search for it. It's just iTunes … Well, until recently, having your podcast on iTunes and the other podcast apps is just like free SEO. People just search for you. So I don't have a great answer to that in the sense that I did not … It's not like Oprah featured me. It's just-
Uh huh. Yeah, that's what it seems like.
I know. But it's not. And it grew. Like if you look at the stats. I mean, that's the other thing about hitting a million. This is true in dollars and in downloads. It's like once it hits a critical mass, going up 20% is a huge amount. Like in the beginning, so once you're getting 100,000 downloads a month, now it's not gonna take you that long. You're kinda moving. I really think people searching it. I did … I mean, there's a strategy that unfortunately you can't use anymore on iTunes but I did have a lot of keywords in my descriptions, which you still can do on other platforms like Spotify or anywhere else. But I honestly think I just … I mean, I think it's the reason that My business has been so successful too is that I am the original convert. I am a true believer. I did all this work on myself. And I think that that comes through.
And I think … Well, I mean, here's something I think your audience can use. I think that part of it is that I'm very transparent and authentic on the podcast. I'm more relatable than some coaches. I think sometimes people feel like coaches are influencers or whatever. Online celebrities kind of project this image of perfection and act like they have it all figured out. And I don't do that. I think I have all-
Yeah, that's refreshing.
Yeah, I've just always been someone … And to me, that's like the epitome of coaching because I feel so solid in myself that I'm like, “Sure I can tell people this ridiculous thing. Who cares?” So I think I've always been someone who just is like, “Well, why don't we just all tell the total truth and see what happens?”
Yeah. And here's what happens in your world anyway when you tell the total truth.
Yeah, I've had a lot of people who are not a big fan of that. But it's worked for me. I mean I just think it's about knowing your audience really well, knowing you're a person. And I will say I hate it and continue to this day to despise having to do that who's your ideal client avatar exercise? It makes me want to kill myself. Because it's always focused on the stuff of her name is Sarah, and she goes to this grocery store, and she has 2.3 children, and this is the kind of wine she drinks. I'm like, “I don't know any of that. I don't care.” But what I do … I know exactly how her brain works.
And so there's different ways of knowing your audience. And it doesn't have to be … Now, I'm finally at the point in my business where if I hire someone and they ask me to do that, I'm just like, “No.”
Let me tell you how our brain works. That's all I care about. But that has worked for me because I was so dialed into a specific kind of brain. So it's like you just have to know your audience really well and there's different ways of doing that. But the most … The reason I know them so well is that I was them. And I still watch my brain. So I wish I had a push these three buttons on your phone and use these key words and you get a million downloads. But I truly think it's a combination of content that is useful. That's the other thing I hear a lot is that people have listened to a lot of podcasts, and followed a lot of coaches, and a lot of self-help teachers who don't teach them how to change. And I don't know if it's like people keep that to themselves because they think that's how they'll get paid or something. But I was always taught value ahead of time and that's what I do. I don't hold anything back. I teach everything I know on the podcast and I still make a ton of money because a lot of people want help with that.
Yeah, exactly. We can only go so far.
Right, if I tell them too much, then no one will hire me. But that's not true. I mean, you can go to an extreme. I had a client once where I was like stop doing a different workbook for them for free for every podcast episode. That's just
That's a lot. Yeah.
No free work for every episode.
Yeah. I've had people say to me this week I'm doing a five day challenge that's basically craft your awesome talk. And I'm guiding the people in the challenge through crafting their talk using my signature process. And I've definitely had people say to me like, “What? Why are you doing that? You're giving them the thing.”
Right. But that just shows you. Those people are in scarcity. That's their thought process. Yeah, some people do get everything they need from the podcast and I'm like, “Great. That's what it's for.”
I can't actually coach everyone who listens to the podcast. That would be insane. I don't want that to happen. Right? It's supposed to be some of you will listen to the podcast and that's great or you truly can't afford to work with me. And then some of you will can afford it and will want more in-depth help and that's how we run the ecosystem. There's free stuff and paid stuff.
Absolutely. I just want to make sure because you've said this multiple times and I think if I were listening to this I'd be like, “Okay, all of this does make sense,” and I think this is really the crucks of what you were saying in the second half of your answer to the first question. Which is you've obviously done a lot of work on your brain and you're thinking so that it allows you to just kinda be like you know, this is just the way it is. I just tell the truth. I tell the whole truth. Even when it will make me quote unquote look bad or whatever. So can you just talk a little bit about … I know there's so much you could say about this and obviously they can listen to Unf*ck Your Brain podcast to get tons about it. Just talk a little bit about what you did to help you think so freely.
Oh yeah. I don't even know how to answer that as a short question. But I mean, the essential of it is what I call thought work is developing awareness of your thought process, most of us have no idea what we're thinking, even if we think we do. And then learning how to change those thoughts one by one on purpose. One thing that made a huge difference for me which was not in the beginning, what was part way through was I did a ton of thought work on getting from hating myself to kind of neutral. And then I was on a mastermind. I had a one day retreat with my teacher as part of my master coach training. And she said, “What if you thought you were awesome?” And I was like, “Yeah, I think I'm fine.” And she's like, “No. What if you thought you were awesome?” Right, you think you're fine. You don't hate yourself, but what if you thought you were amazing? And I think for me, that was right before I did the podcast. That work is kind of what helped me take it to the next level I think. Is going from … And it felt like I had done so much work already and I had. But there was this other layer and this other level.
And interestingly, actually, to get from hating myself to neutral was a lot of pain staking thought by thought work. Building it one brick at a time. To get-
That's one of my questions. What really thought by thought, how many thoughts do we have a day?
Here's the thing, it turns out you only have four.
You think you have a lot.
Well, that's okay.
Yeah, you think you have a lot. You don't really. All of my clients go through this when I teach. The first three weeks, they're like, “Oh my god, you're crazy. Why did I do this? I'm have 100 million thoughts. It's taking me all day. I can't even do my job or walk the dog.” But I tell them at the beginning they're gonna experience that and that by week six they're gonna be like, “Oh, you're right. There's only four thoughts.”
Are there four that we all have? Like you could just name them
I mean, they're mostly the same. Yeah. Yes. I mean, on some level, all I'm ever doing is teaching people how to stop thinking I'm not good enough. But you can't do it at that level of generality. And everybody has their own weird specific tweaks on it. So you figure out what those are and yeah, people's are different. But it's not really 60 thoughts, or 600, or 6 million. It's really four. And you kind of figure that out. And then once you know those, then you're kinda wise to them. And people do have different … Yeah, I mean, some people's are about them. Some people's come out more as being about other people. So it does differ. But yeah, it is really thought by thought. But here's the other thing. People are like, “Oh, that's so much work.” And I'm like, “Well, it's also a lot of work not having control of your brain and being miserable.”
Who are used to it.
Right, right. It feels like less work, but do you feel great? Like if you feel great, you don't need to do it. But if you feel terrible a lot, then you're spending energy feeling terrible. And what else are you doing with your life? If you spend two years on this, at the end of two years, you're a totally different person. Your whole life is different. It could've been worth it. Or you can have the same life for two years and think about it again in two years.
Yeah. So do you really feel great a lot of the time?
I really do. It's funny because my teacher and I fight about this a little bit. Not fight about it, but she teaches that it's 50/50. Human life is you're gonna have 50% positive, 50% negative emotion. And that's not really my experience is really more like 70/30 maybe. Maybe 80/20. But I think I've always … Thought work is about making you happier, but it's not like some … I do think some people just tend to be … Even when I was miserable, I was a happy miserable person.
You're just lucky.
I think I just have idea. I just have some predisposition towards being happy. Just it was hard. It was happy with a cloud of guilt and shame that I always felt I was carrying around.
That's kind of fascinating picture.
Yeah, so I do kind of think people … It's like, you have some of your inclinations but thought work isn't just about being happier. I mean, I am definitely happier. But it's also about knowing that you are in charge of what's happening in your life. And negative emotion … Before thought work, negative emotion feels terrible because you don't know what it … You think that you're dying basically. frame things.
I love how you always say that.
Yeah, but it's true. Most of us are so … Look at what most of us do to avoid our feelings. We're like, “Oh, I'll drink two bottles of wine tonight. I'll gamble. I'll have sex with a stranger. I'll watch Netflix for seven …” We will go to extreme lengths to not have our feelings. People will never put down their cell phone. Right? We'll refuse to be alone with our thoughts for a moment. So obviously it does. That's what our body thinks is gonna happen.
We would work so hard if we didn't think we were gonna die.
Yeah. So you do still have negative emotion, but it's just more like now you have a headache as opposed to thinking you have cancer all the time.
Yeah, that's good. So this … I mean, that's just a good sort of very concrete example. So this going from all the negative thoughts to the neutral just to kind of sum up the way I hear it for you, then you went to kind of this neutral place. And then you started to move toward this whole like, “What if I'm amazing?” And then from that place, you felt like you could put yourself out there. I can create this podcast, and do experimentation on your programs, and all of that.
But yes and no. Because I really don't want your listeners to be thinking okay so I don't put myself out there till I feel great about it. That is not what I'm saying. So I still every time I do anything, my brain's like, “Nope, you're gonna die.”
So when I transitioned from … I went from doing consultation calls to fill my program to just selling it … You just get an email. You were around for some of this. For three months, my brain was like, “No, no, you're definitely gonna die. You're gonna die. You're gonna die. Don't do it. Don't do it. You're gonna die.” So I'm not at all saying I am happier than I used to be, but I don't think anybody is enlightened enough such that their brain doesn't tell them they're gonna die every time they try to do something new. Maybe Buddhist monks, but they don't do anything new. They just keep meditating. If you're gonna be an entrepreneur, or a speaker, or whatever else, so I would just want 100% be clear, you do not sit around waiting until you feel great about yourself.
And in fact, failing is part of what can help. You fail and you just see that it's normal and you can succeed after that and it's not such a big deal. So I don't think that being … I don't think it's like, “Oh, then I learn to love myself and then I was able to take my business to the next level.” It's not about the fact that I loved myself. I think it's about the fact that all that work taught me so much that I then was able to use and that part of loving myself meant being comfortable with negative emotion and negative thought. Just understanding that my brain was telling me I was gonna die, not because I really was, but just because that's what brains do.
Yeah. That distinction. So, so powerful. Just to … I think even creating that separation between us and our brain in a way. It's like, “Oh, this is what my brain does under these conditions,” whatever the conditions are. And oh, there it is doing that again.” You can almost just get familiar with that it seemed in my experience. Yeah. With speaking, that definitely happens. It happens. People will say to me, “Well, you must not get nervous anymore.” I'm like, “Of course I do.” But I just know that this is part of what happens and I know I'm not gonna die even if it feels like I'm going to. Just have tried it enough times.
Right and that changes everything knowing that that's the case.
Yeah. Yeah. Brilliant. I mean that's it. And I think that's the perfect place to underline and close because … It is … We talked about putting yourself out there as a speaker, and creating this amazing podcast, and all of that's exciting, and there are things to do and try. What do you do so you can have the successful speaking career or successful podcast or both? And really underneath it, of course, is just like this foundation, this bed of the way you think. Right? Caring for yourself or creating that separation so that you can just keep going out there and giving it a shot.
So this was brilliant. And I knew it would be. So thank you so much for your awesome insights. Will you tell us where we can learn more about you and what you're up to from here?
Yeah. Search Unf*ck Your Brain on any podcast app. Easy to remember. Although we use an asterisk. So it's UNF*CK Your Brain. But if you put in Unf*ck Your Brain you'll probably find me.
They will. I've done that.
Okay, perfect. So just search that. You'll find my podcast. Listen to the podcast. I also have a free five day confidence challenge that helps you start to rewire your brain. It's got some really concrete thought tools and exercises to do. So we'll put a link to that in the show notes.
Awesome. That's brilliant. I've been part of that and loved it.
Okay, perfect. Well then there you go. Two good ways to find me.
Awesome. Thank you. Thank you so much, Kara.
Yeah, it's been my pleasure.
One of the many things I love about conversations with Kara is that she really does just say what's true for her. I find it so refreshing. I hope you love that conversation even half as much as I did. And if you aren't already listening to Kara's podcast, which there's a good chance you are. But if you're not, now you will be. You're gonna love it. I love it. So just go check it out.
Quick reminder about our Get Great Speaking Gigs in 2019 webinar. Again, if you're listening to this on release day, which is December 12th, then the webinar is tomorrow December 13th. If you're listening to this after that, then catch it the next time. I know we'll run it again. But go to michellebarryfranco.com/speakingwebinar if you are listening on the 12th or early morning on December 13th 2019 so that you can get in on the webinar. I would love to see you there
Thank you so much for being here, my friend. It's an honor and gift that I get to share this all with you. I know that our world is waiting for your voice in a bigger and broader way. And I love being even just a small part of making that happen because here's the thing. You were made for this. You know how I know? Because you know. So until next week, shine on, my friend.
Thanks for listening to this episode of Speak So It Matters Podcast. If what you heard here today was useful, you'll love the free guide I've created for you at speaksoitmatters.com/yes. Not only will you get immediate access to our power and grace speakers tool kit, including the only presentation outline you'll ever need, but you'll also receive weekly updates with our best resources as they're created. I can't wait to see you out there shining your beautiful light and changing lives with your message.