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Where Is Your Focus?


What does your Facebook news feed say about you? Your Facebook feed is curated 100% to you, your interests and what you choose to focus on. What we focus on makes us feel things. Some good feels, some bad feels and those feels determine our actions. As humans, we aren't naturally good at pinpointing things we've done well, celebrating our wins or acknowledging our achievements. It takes work. It takes practice and brain training. This brain training enables us to enhance our ability to be more intrinsically motivated, to feel better every day and make better decisions to move us forward in both a pre-determined and heart-centred direction.

You'll Learn

  • A regular, simple practice to begin your brain training

  • Understanding your Reticular Activating System and the impact is has on your entire life

  • The choices your making now, and the choices you could be making to make great changes


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Episode Transcript


EP #9

“Do I need a life coach?” You’re listening to Episode 9, with Rhiannon Bush

Welcome to the Do I need a life coach? Podcast. We’re here to discuss the ins- and outs- of the life coaching industry and give you tools to use, to see for yourself. I’m your host, Rhiannon Bush. Mother, management consultant and a passionate, certified life coach.

Hello my friends how are you? How has your week been? How are you feeling on a daily basis? Good? Energised? Vibrant? Slow? Weighed down?

I’ve had a mix of both. I’ve had great highs, delivering work I’m really proud of and producing at a high level for a business I’m currently working for. It’s challenged me mentally, intellectually and spiritually – for those who are questioning the difference, for me, being mentally challenged is around motivation, focus, stickability. I’m not one for multitasking because I like to maximise my time and produce at my highest level. So when I’m mentally challenged what I mean is that I’m highly distracted, sometimes fatigued or bored, basically I struggle to focus and commit to starting a task and seeing it right through to completion.

When I say intellectually challenged, I mean brain-bending work. Work that I have to nut-out and dissect, to then piece together in a creative way, often the work I do is making something that is quite complex, simple and easily digestible. Or in my case, if I have to do a certain way and conform to a different set of standards, I find it challenging, and not in a way I enjoy. I like to be queen of my castle. I like to do things my way and have full ownership and accountability, and while I’m happy to collaborate and am open to others’ opinions, if I’m told I need to own a task… then I want to, and I want to execute it my way.

Spiritually, my challenge, comes from my own insecurities and feeling of unworthiness. I’ll be the first to say it, everything I addressed in the episode on Imposter Syndrome are things I too, feel. Questioning whether I’m good enough, will I fit in and contribute what is needed or hopefully exceed expectations, etc. And for me, my big one is around being “smart” enough. I had quite a lot of what I would dramatically call high school trauma from not feeling “smart enough” and feeling like I may be left behind. Thankfully, I’ve had a lot of coaching around this but there are still times it comes back up briefly and I need to spend the time addressing it when it does.

I ran a masterclass for coaches last night, and Imposter Syndrome came up. It was a beautiful extension of Episode 5 because after recording that podcast episode, I realised how your imposter syndrome, if it’s something you experience, may never go away. Especially if you’re ambitious and regularly seek growth and expansion. Because every time you find yourself in an unfamiliar environment, your reptilian brain will have something to say about it which will trigger your imposter syndrome. So instead of wanting to “fix” imposter syndrome, or “get over it”, instead, let it be your guide. This new role I’m doing is challenging me and I’m embracing that challenge and simply noticing what my insecurities are telling me.

As I said in the masterclass to the coaches, we can’t manage what we aren’t aware of. Fixing maybe the approach so taking notice, getting curious and letting your imposter syndrome guide you will be the confirmation you need to know you’re expanding and growing. Whether you’re expanding and growing in the direction that moves you closer to your goals or further from your goals is the question you need to ask yourself. Obviously, we want our imposter syndrome to flare up when we’re doing something that we haven’t previously done that moves us closer to what we ultimately want. Marshall Goldsmith said “what got you here, won’t get you there” meaning that the results we have right now is the evidence of the work we’ve done up until now. It’s a reflection of our output and the value we’ve contributed to our higher purpose and the trajectory we’ve set ourselves on. For us to get different results, we need to do differently – for any coaches listening that is being, doing and therefore having. Different attitudes, thoughts, beliefs, emotions and different approaches.

When you not only know your purpose and you’ve set your goal thoroughly, your imposter syndrome or any other emotions you’re feeling that keep you stuck are a distraction. They pull your focus away from what it is you want to ultimately achieve. Emotions in the ‘imposter syndrome’ bucket or any other bucket of emotions you’d like to have that make you feel down-and-out about yourself and keep you playing small and staying stuck are a representation of your reptilian brain doing exactly what it’s designed to do – keep you safe. It's designed to conserve as much energy as possible (for example, our heart rate does the bare minimum to keep us alive so when or if needed, it can pump harder and faster to push more blood around our body to get us to move faster to keep us away from predators. Unless we consciously choose to do something – usually physical – and for a purpose our adult (higher-order-thinking) brain deems worthy, our heart rate will pump at just enough to keep us going.

Is that the life you’re choosing? The bare minimum? If you’re listening to podcasts full stop, I’d say the answer is no. And especially if you’re listening to this one I’d safely make the assumption that you’re looking for more, right? Something else that came up in the masterclass is that nothing you dream of or aspire to do, is by chance. And the longer you’ve followed, loved or done something, whether that be full-time or even a little bit, had-a-lot-of-time-off then come back to and always seem to keep coming back to… what you desire to do doesn’t come out of nowhere. It’s where you’re meant to be. It’s telling you something.

But back to me… I love putting my mind to tasks where I need to take the complex and make it simple and find solutions to problems that blow other people’s minds. I’m so thankful to my brain for how, when I ask it to, can work things out, how I can stick to something and see it through and how I take knowledge from a whole bunch of sources to invent new things instead of copying ways I’ve read or heard other people do it.

For those of you tuning into this thinking “what does this have to do with a life coach?” good question, and to make it relevant, I wasn’t able to discover this within myself until I worked with a coach and cleared a lot of things I was holding onto from my past, and the confidence to embrace what I could do, and have my own back, in the face of sceptics or people I felt like an imposter around.

So that’s been my week. Quite emotional and confronting but I can’t tell you how wonderful and accomplished and proud I feel with what I’ve produced and achieved in such a small amount of actual, billable hours. Thrilled. And I hope you too are feeling thrilled or proud or positive about something you’ve done this week too. If you can’t think of anything right now, try harder and make sure you come up with something instead of giving up. It’s a really simple and important exercise and if you keep practising that… you’ll be amazed at how it changes things for you longer-term by training your brain to focus on things you’ve done well, things that have made you feel positive and proud or simply by focusing on wins you’ve had. Whether they’re large or small, take note of the feeling. Go with that. The size or scale according to others doesn’t matter. It’s about the feeling it gives you. Because as I speak about in Episode 1, your thoughts determine your feelings and your feelings determine your actions. And can you imagine the actions you’ll take from feeling good (because you’ve thought about things that went well today or this week) versus decisions you’ll make and actions you’ll take from feelings that are bad, because you’re thinking about things that consciously or unconsciously make you feel anxious, stressed, insecure, uncertain, frustrated, angry, etc?

Interesting question huh?! It’s often a question I start my coaching sessions with – 3 wins please. And hand-on-heart, every single time my clients go “ummm”…. “ahhhh” and I have to probe them because it’s not something we naturally do, our brains don’t focus on what we’ve done well or energy we’ve expended that has created a great result for us. It takes work.

Brain training – so important. And we’ve all heard the song “you’ve got to…. Accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative. Hold on to the affirmative, and don’t mess with Mr In-between”… when you take note, every day, of things you’ve done that you’re proud of, you will become so much more intrinsically motivated and positive. This will lead to looking outside yourself less for validation or to feel better. This looks like shopping – whether it’s online or in person. Are you someone who, when you shop, feels great? Even the supermarket shopping? Or how about food? Wine, chocolate, popcorn, ice-cream…. Reaching for those corn-chips after dinner to give us that instant satisfaction of “oh I deserve this from my day today, it’s been a big one” or “oh I can’t handle this stress, I need some chocolate”. These have been my sentences by the way, some nights they still are but much less frequently than they used to be.

By training our minds to consciously focus on things we’re happy, proud, inspired, satisfied, in-love-with because we’ve achieved something and WHY that made us feel so great, and WHAT the feeling was specifically, we’re making a conscious decision with our adult brain, and our adult brain is schooling our child brain – our reptilian brain. Our inner adult is taking charge and saying “hey you, take notice of these things, let’s take note and remember that they made us feel x”. Doing this will enhance our ability to recognise it more often and will kick-off this inner spiral and suddenly, you’re vibrating at (i.e. being) a different frequency, which will attract different and new and more aligned things to you and will ultimately change your results and move you closer to your goal. See how it works? Quantum Physics baby 

In my coach training, this was one of my favourite lessons and I remember clearly teaching new coaches this same lesson. It’s so enlightening. I was speaking to a friend, outside a brewery in Hobart after a very close friends’ wedding. To be honest, we were sobering up, eating dessert pizza (which was delicious – shout out to Deep South Brewery!) and he was talking to me about his mum who had been diagnosed with mental health issues and was seeing a lot of specialists to help manage it.

I didn’t go into too much detail with him – it wasn’t the time or place - but I did tell him to be discerning and careful with the help she was getting and what she was being told by professionals about what was inverted commas wrong with her, because whether we want it to or not, what we focus on and the stories we tell ourselves become self-fulling prophecies. What do I mean? Have you ever done something or said something to yourself, that years later you think “ohhh I remember saying that”. Or you go through a whole box of old stuff and you find goals or dreams you’ve written down and they’ve come true? That happened to me recently. I was cleaning out a box I’d kept before we move back into our home and this box had pieces of an old vision board. On this vision board I had a few things like paying off some debt that we had, having two kids, I really wanted a boy and a girl and I’m so lucky that I have that, buying a home… it was incredible and it made me stop and thank my RAS.

My Reticular Activating System. R-A-S for short and whenever I talk about a RAS, I do this funny chook-head looking thing with my hand. It makes no sense to somebody who doesn’t know what I’m talking about but those who do know me, know exactly what I’m talking about when I do that. We all have a RAS. If you don’t believe me, I want you to think about the last time you bought a car, or wanted to travel somewhere specific, or wanted something like a particular piece of jewellery or shoes, something like that. Now, go back to the time when you decided the very thing that you wanted – get specific. The moment when you decided you wanted to buy a Mercedes, or you wanted to travel to Hawaii, or a specific basketball card.

Now, do you remember that as soon as you knew exactly what you wanted, you started to see it everywhere? I mean everywhere? I remember when I’d made the decision to move to London to live for 2 years. Suddenly I saw travel offers on billboards with London Bridge. I saw English taxis on gift cards, and the London eye on airline advertisements. You know what I didn’t notice? I didn’t notice all of the images of the Statue of Liberty. Or the Taj Mahal. I didn’t notice anything disappearing. I hate to break it to anybody who’s noticed this very thing but this isn’t Allah or God or any other higher power saying “oh, Rhiannon wants to move to London, so we’re going to put 100 more images around here very day of iconic English things like the Shard”. No. This was my RAS. This was the work of my incredible brain, saying “oh, you want me to focus on London…. Well here you go” and all of a sudden, information I was absorbing around me on an unconscious level, which is a lot by the way – think about right now how the floor feels on your feet, how the light is affecting your eye site, the air temperature in the room – you had zero conscious awareness of that until I brought it to your conscious awareness right? – basically I asked my brain to focus on something, and my brain scanned my environment constantly with a spotlight, honing in on what I had asked it to focus on. In this case, it was London.

In your case, it may be a new Tesla. Or $60,000 in your savings account. Life coaching. Or the name of someone you’re in love with… the secret to understanding this, and which feeds into exactly what I was talking about earlier with brain training, is that our RAS focuses on whatever we ask it to. That’s both the good stuff, and the bad. So if you’re focusing on how fat you are or feel, guess what, your brain will find evidence to make that true for you. If you aren’t smart enough to get that promotion at work, your brain will find evidence and make you consciously aware of that evidence to reinforce the belief you have that you want to focus on… and it will make it true.

You see our brain isn’t discerning. Our brain is an incredible goal-achieving machine and we have to learn how to feed it and train it with the right information for us to achieve what we ultimately want to achieve. The difficulty with that is knowing what it is we ultimately want.

Another example of what we choose to focus on is our Facebook feed…. Have you ever picked up an identical mobile phone and just known it wasn’t yours? How? There are no markers or anything that would tell you it wasn’t yours, and obviously if you look at the lock-screen image you’ll then know but even before that, you just knew? How?

When you scroll Facebook, your newsfeed will tell you exactly what you choose to focus on. Believe it or not, your newsfeed can have literally any topic or information stream available in the whole world. No matter how weird, wonderful, or wacky. So what pops up on your news feed is what you’ve either actively followed, cookies that are tracking your other activities, or related information to those you most view. Don’t believe me? Switch your phone to a trusted friend and scroll their feed. My partner Damien and I did this recently. His feed was full of basketball cards, food shows, FitPro/Cross-fitters and entrepreneur posts. My feed is all coaching, friends and inspirational stuff.

My feed used to be all friends and skinny, sexy women because that’s what I wanted to be. Fast-forwarding a few years and a bucket-load more self-esteem, I choose what I follow very carefully to make sure it’s healthy and helping me focus on the things that enhance my life, instead of sucking me down into a hole of comparison and feelings of self worthlessness because I don’t have x, or I’ll never look y… there’s nothing about that that adds value to me, my family or my life but it took time for me to learn that even down to my Facebook feed, I have a choice.

I get to choose what it is I’m focusing on and whether that’s enhancing my time here, or detracting from it. We live in this incredible world of HBR and McKinsey articles, podcasts, Google and availability of information. It’s up to you to protect your adult and child brain by censoring that information carefully. Consciously choosing what you want to feed your brain, where you want to focus, and what you’re using your focus and energy to work towards.

You’ve got this my friends. You have 100% control and 100% choice. If you’re dissatisfied right now, that dissatisfaction is there for a reason, it’s telling you something. So start by re-evaluating what you want, where you’re headed and how you’re working towards getting there. Let go of distractions whether they’re internal or external and instead use your energy to focus. Focus forward. Go get em! See you next week.

Hey! Before you go, I always find reviews really helpful when looking for new information or insights…

I you’ve found this podcast valuable, please take a minute to write a quick review about what you’ve found most beneficial for you, so other people can benefit from your insights, and listen in too. I would LOVE that!

Also, if there are any topics you’d like me to cover specifically about life coaching or the life coaching industry, visit to contact me. Thanks for joining and I’ll see you in the next episode of Do I Need A Life Coach?!

Please note, this transcription may not be exact.

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