I am so excited for you all to have this amazing treat, which is a collection of Scholars who have been successful. I am thrilled for you to meet each and every one of them and to hear their stories. So please get yourself a cup of tea, sit back, relax, or get your running shoes on and go for a long run or a long walk and enjoy. Okay you guys, I am so excited to have Whitney on the podcast.
You guys might remember her from the proposal episode. Whitney was the one that got proposed to and she and her husband have been listening to the podcast for a long time, and then Whitney joined Scholars and has done some amazing work in there.
But I'm going to let her kind of start from the beginning and tell you a little bit about herself. So welcome to the podcast, Whitney. I am so excited. Let's start from the beginning of when you first found the podcast. Give us a little summary about you guys listening to me in the car and Yes, well girlfriend sent me a text message and I was in a pretty low place. I had not heard your podcast. She sent me a text message and she's like, "I thought of you, I know you listen to a lot of self-help, you've got to check out Brooke Castillo.
I was - I had been crying, I don't know what about, but like laying in my bed in a fetal position just feeling hopeless, trying to do a lot of deep work but not really having any tangible tools.
And I was like, wow, this is good. Like, she's actually going deep. I have listened to a lot of people and it all seems very surface level, and she's really not afraid to talk about the painful stuff. And so I couldn't - from that point, I listened to your podcast pretty religiously, just really I think I caught it at a really pivotal point for where I was too. It was also - I think soon after that was like hedonism and all this stuff that I was just - my brain could not feast enough on because I was trying to figure this out on my own.
So yes, that was the first time and I think that was like, maybe a couple months before I even met Jake, my husband. Even before you met him? Okay, so then you met him and you were always having me on in the car.
And if you guys don't remember that proposal episode, you talked about how - I think I briefly talked about how you guys lived far away from each other so you guys would be listening in the podcast and then I loved how he talked about you guys talking about self-help together and what you were learning from me and applying it in your lives, and it was just such an amazing story.
So it was so fun to have him propose to you through the podcast. Yes, and it was such a celebrity - I still feel like a little kid with you Brooke. You're such a celebrity in my mind, or like, you know, hero, role model, because before I even met Jake I was starting to do apply this work, just through your podcast. And I feel like - I felt like I was really starting to grasp a new mindset in a sense, just through your teaching and so when he and I met, I was like, "You've got to listen to Brooke Castillo", but I was also kind of like a test.
Like how well, or how much does he desire improving himself too. Like, is this going to be something that I do on my own or is this something that he's going to be interested in.
And it turns out we would do it like you said, together, or we would do it separately on our way to see each other, and then talk about it, just like, feasting on the information.
And so, it was so funny when he said I have the best proposal for you, and he had talked to you. I was like, there's no way it would be Brooke Castillo. Like, that sounds impossible. And then you guys joined Scholars and started doing all of that work, and one of the things I want to acknowledge you for, one of the reasons we chose you out of so many people to be part of our magazine and part of one of the success stories is how all in you were.
As part of Scholars, it's a volunteer process where you volunteer to be coached and then you, you know, volunteer what you're going to be coached on, and you were always volunteering to be coached, which I think you and I have so much in common there because when I'm with my coach I'm always like, pick me, I'm first, I want to do it all.
And so I got so many posts and emails and acknowledgment of how much people had benefited from seeing you be coached, and just in such a fearless way. And so I really take my hat off to you for that because I think - you know, one of the things I've been talking a lot about on this version of the podcast is when you take and make the effort to be successful yourself, it doesn't just affect you.
You've been such an inspiration. So for those people who listen to the podcast who aren't yet in Scholars, let's - can we talk a little bit about some of the work that you did on your past and how you've kind of applied the model and the work in Scholars to move on to some emotional adulthood a little bit? I honestly didn't realize, until I started doing your work, how much my past was affecting my current state of mind, my current happiness. And still, I think up until even - it is still a lot of my daily work, but in the beginning, I - there was so much pain, anger, fear, that in terms of like dealing with it and being able to feel like I was going to be okay, and I love how you say there's no emotion that can kill you.
For me, I didn't feel like that. I felt like my emotions have the capability of killing me. Because it just felt so surreal, like, so in the raw, in the moment, even though it's years and years ago, but the reason that is what I've learned from you is that I never learned how to deal with those emotions.
And so I was suppressing, suppressing, numbing, numbing, and as I was dealing with them, they absolutely were as raw of wounds as they were when they were actually happening. And so doing your work allowed me to have tools to feel like, okay, one, if Brooke can do it, I believe that I can do it because she wouldn't be offering these tools if they didn't really work. And so there was a lot of trust, and then two, I just - I knew I was willing to put in the work as long as it was going to be worth it.
And I love how you talk about envision a future self, envision a better future you or your own self, because it gave me something to hope - to put hope in to the future for. And so it wasn't just like, okay, do all this work to feel pain, to hopefully get better.
It was like, no, do all this work to feel pain so your life can be amazing, and I really bought into that idea and I believe it and I'm seeing it in my life, and so it's really powerful.
So one of the things that I think is extraordinary about you is when you have a childhood like you did that's filled with abuse, it's very easy to identify as a victim, right?
Because there's so much evidence that you are a victim. Now, the difference is of course when you are a child, you are a victim, you are helpless in that situation, but now as an adult, you are no longer a victim and yet you kind of came with a lot of that mentality.
And so being willing to look at that from in a new perspective I think is some of the most challenging work that we'll ever do because how do we honor ourselves as children and what we went through and yet not give it power as adults. And I think that's been the work that you've been doing, and not just doing it but doing it in front of other people so they can see you doing that work.
I think that that was the work of my life, that's the work of so many of our lives is really deciding as adults who we're going to be and what we're going to believe and not bringing our painful past with us, and let that - you know, letting that define our future. And so if you could just speak to a little bit about that shift for you and maybe think about the person that's listening to this that still feels very chained to their past and still feels - and what that might sound to you guys listening is well, I'm this way because of my past.
Yes, and I can totally resonate with that because like you said, it absolutely, that victim mindset, has been me all my life. I'm 31 years old and my family is still stuck in that. And so I guess I have the blessing and curse of being able to see that and it's something that's stuck with me. I see it as a reminder that I don't want to be 60 years old, feeling like I'm still a victim, not having taken control of my life.
And so the shift for me was realizing that if I can change the story that I'm telling myself, if I can continue to uncover the beliefs that are keeping me chained to my past, and if I can continue to become more and more aware of my thoughts that seem so natural, then I can start choosing, okay, you know, for me, my mind automatically goes to judgment, which I hear you teach that that's so normal, but coming from a victim mindset, the judgment feels - it doesn't feel - it feels protective, like I have to be judgmental to be protective, and I think that's probably my biggest shift that I'm still trying to correct is that my default thinking is no longer protecting me, it's keeping me stuck.
Yes, that's so important, and that is so hard. One of the things that you said that I think is so important for people to hear, and some of the work that you've been doing is a lot of your thinking is so engrained that it doesn't even feel like thinking. It just feels like the truth, right? Many of us have these thoughts that don't sound like negative beliefs, but they're causing us so much pain, like I was a victim, I was hurt, I was abused, this was a horrible childhood.
Any of those things just sound like you're conveying the facts, and yet when they're prominent in your brain they affect so much what you're able to do and create in your life. And so the work that you've been doing does not at all negate what you went through, but it lets it go, right?
It lets it go and stay in the past where it belongs, and I think that work is so challenging and that's the work you've really done and I've just seen so much of a change, and a lot of people who do this work kind of come to it and retract from it, come to it and retract from it, and one of the things I've seen you do is just constantly open up and be courageous and be willing and present all the challenges that you're facing as an adult because of those belief systems.
And I think that takes so much courage, but I think that's one of the reasons why you had so much success. So what would you say to someone who feels trapped and maybe they just started Scholars or maybe they really just want to get to the place where they feel like you do.
That's such a good question. The advice I would give is to be fearless with the process of learning a new really, tools, but the way that you've taught me so much that I feel like affects the way that I live my life differently is being able to use something that can genuinely change the course of my day just by acknowledging a thought.
And so in the very beginning we would do the group coaching calls, I'm like, okay, I want to know from Brooke if I'm doing this wrong because if I'm doing it wrong I don't want to waste any more time being stuck at doing what I know doesn't work right. And so the fearlessness had to be pushed to the front and say okay, it doesn't matter who else is on the call, it doesn't matter how wrong I have it. I remember being on calls where you're like, "Listen, Whitney, look, you're not getting the point.
I'm so glad you brought that up because I think it's important for us to talk about that a little bit because a lot of when I'm training coaches especially, one of the things that they're worried about is when a client is upset they want to have empathy.
And your story is so painful to you and it's so real to you, so when you're trying to explain your story so I understand your pain, which is what we do, right? I agree with your story, I agree with you in that victim role. And so my job as a coach is to make sure you always know that I'm on your side but that your story sucks. And so that's the game that we're kind of playing in the middle of a coaching session.
Like, listen, I love you but you're wrong. I love you but you're wrong. And that is challenging, and I'll tell you that even when I'm coaching myself and I'm negotiating that, it's like there's part of us that we're so identified with the painful story that we have that even though it's painful it's familiar. And so we kind of have to pry it away from ourselves. And so I think that that's something that we've had to do with you a lot because what we said earlier, you don't even recognize that your thoughts are thoughts.
Like a fish doesn't understand they're in water, that's totally what it's like. And so I love what you said, that you know, just being patient, being willing to push your fear to the front and let it be there instead of trying to push it away, like let it be there, be honest about it, I think that that's such a guide for anyone who really wants to do this work.
So what would you say was the most challenging part for you? The most challenging, I think the past. Your past is not your future work. It seemed like the more I - every day, that month that I woke up feeling like I was putting on my - I was suiting up for the Brooke Castillo work, it felt like things kept coming at me that were so challenging. Like, I think it was that week that my dad went into ICU, just a lot of different family things that my mind was really - it was really tempting, and often did go back into victim mindset, or this is my story, all of what you had just mentioned, and that month on top of the work with the events, I really got to see kind of an outside perspective of how intense it is when we don't all allow our space, like you talk about, that watcher posture.
And so I really got to practice it a lot but it was painful, and I think it was like seven months in, so I was really beating myself up that I wasn't further along in your process. I'm so glad you brought that up. I know so many of our students go through that, and so many of my coaches, master coaches that have gone through this process, they're like, "Wait, I still feel pain. Wait, I still make all these mistakes in my models and I still get mad and angry and lose my mind and I still buffer", and all those things, it's all part of this process.
But being aware of it seems to make it more intense I think because you're living such a more conscious life.