Transcript: Ebb and Flow States with Dina Cataldo
Hello, there. How are you doing today?
Today I want to talk to you about a big lie we're told. It's easy to believe this lie in a world where we have curated social media feeds, but I want to break down a misconception that may be keeping you and a lot of other people believing you're missing something in your life. It's so prevalent, that you can't help but believe this until you see it. I've done it too. So in today's episode, you'll get awareness around how this misconception is probably showing up in your life without you even knowing it.
Before we jump in, I want to invite you to watch my training, Calendar 101 for Lawyers: How to End Overwhelm, Get More Done, and Stop Cluttering Your Desk with Post-Its. You can download it now at https://dinacataldo.com/calendar101
Yes, I know your desk is cluttered with post-its and you have way too much to do.
I get it. That's why I created this training. The way we think about time management is what impacts how much time we have and how stressed out we feel about our workload. If you've ever said that you feel like you're behind and you'll never catch up, you have to watch this training.
I break down exactly what's preventing you from the most productive actions in your practice and teach you a tool to help you get back on track.
Go to https://dinacataldo.com/calendar101 to access it. It will change how you look at your workload.
Ok, let's jump into today's episode.
It was so interesting. After I wrote this podcast, I didn't want to record it.
My brain was telling me that I was wrong about this, but I'm 100% sure of it.
So I used the technique that I'm sharing with you at the end of the podcast, and I asked myself if that was true.
And the truth is, I can't speak for everyone's experiences in this podcast. But I can speak for my experience and the experience of 100% of the humans I've ever interacted with.
That experience is that we have an ebb and flow in our life. We expend energy, and then we must replenish that energy.
There's a myth floating around that we should all be aiming for continual flow state. That we should always feel focused and energized and get lots accomplished or something has gone wrong.
There's a myth that we should feel good and get things done all the time, or we're not living up to our potential.
This misconception causes a lot of pain for people who aren't aware of our need for this ebb and flow in our life. I know it caused me a lot of pain because I really believed I was missing something, and that if I knew that thing, then everything would be sunshine and daisies all the time.
The truth is that we are human, and we treat ourselves like we're supposed to react like a machine.
We believe we should be on all day like a refrigerator. Because we're human, we need more and different attention.
I wrote about this in a recent instagram post. If you're not there with me, it's time. Go to @dina.cataldo and make sure you're following me there. I have some good stuff there.
Our mental states ebb and flow. We work then rest. We're awake, then we sleep. We have intense highs, and intense lows. We have high energy, then we have low energy.
This isn't a problem. It's normal.
That brings me to where my brain wanted to question a concept I'm 100% certain on.
It wanted to tell me, “No, it's possible to be in continual flow state.” My response is, “Well, maybe it is. But I've never seen or experienced even the most amazing people in the coaching industry who have ninja understandings of their minds and bodies stay in continual flow state or continually energized.
They must replenish their minds and bodies too.
My brain wanted to tell me, “Well, if you eat the right foods and get the right amount of exercise and you do just the right amount of work, then maybe it's possible.” And that's a big part of the myth that's perpetuated that my mind has absorbed on some level.
We see influencers online who present as energized and getting things done. And in that moment, they are. They have the energy to create content and explain concepts in a precise way. What we don't see is the down time where they consciously rejuvenate themselves.
Last week I talked about having Committed Energy, which is what we need to know how to generate for those times when we're feeling that ebb. We get what needs to be done completed, then we can rejuvenate.
I'll give you an example from this past weekend for me. On Saturday, I was up and raring to go. I woke up, and I had high energy. It wasn't forced. I wanted to work out, and do a load of laundry, then walk my dog Frankie. Then I went grocery shopping, then a trip to the garden center, then I unloaded soil, then I went back to two more garden centers and took those things bak. Then I took a nap. Then I went back outside and weeded a garden bed then planted the new plants I got. I was high energy all day.
The next day I was pooped. I had strained my arm pulling weeds the day before too, so I was in a bit of pain. I worked from committed energy and did the things I absolutely needed to do on Sunday, then consciously decided to let my plans for the day go because I knew I needed to recuperate from the high energy day I had the day before. What I didn't do was beat myself up or feel crappy all day because I wasn't doing all the things I'd written on my calendar. I made a conscious decision to rest, so my brain wouldn't use more energy feeling horrible all day.
Monday I felt much the same way.
I know that I've seen this before. When I have high energy days like that, I know that I'm going to have a day or two where I need to recuperate. It's an ebb and flow of energy. On those days, I do the most important things that must be done, then I allow myself to have an easy day. I took care of myself.
When I studied for the Bar, I noticed that I'd study for 16 hours a day for three days, no problem. Then I did nothing for three or four days straight. The whole time I wasn't doing anything, I was stressed out because I kept thinking that I should be doing something and that I was going to fail because I wasn't studying hard enough. It felt horrible. I was terrified I was doing it all wrong. Well, I didn't fail, and it turns out that sometimes I have high energy days where I need to recuperate. I much prefer how I handle things now.
I had a client come to me with something like this the other day too. She had closed three big deals the week before, and then she was surprised she was feeling depleted the next week at work. She put out massive energy the week before — she delivered big focus and energy for extended periods of time — so it made sense that she needed rejuvenation. She needed rest. But she thought something was wrong because she went to the office like usual expecting that she should have more desire and energy to do her work.
If we're not paying attention to this natural ebb and flow, we'll burn ourselves out mentally and physically.
This depletion can show up in getting colds or injuries or feeling exhausted. We think that our feeling a lack of motivation to do the work is because there's something wrong with us, but really we're just not honoring the natural ebb and flow of our bodies.
We think something has gone wrong, when really our brain and bodies are trying to tell us something.
The ebb in our energy is telling us to recuperate.
We're not missing anything. The actual problem is the belief that we're missing something. It's a belief that something has gone wrong.
It's a lack of awareness of how our minds and bodies work.
Our brains and bodies need breaks. They need to be cared for.
If we go around thinking that we're doing life wrong or we just need to consume more ashwaganda, then our life would be better, it's not going to motivate us to get more done. It feels horrible believing that you're not living up to your potential or doing what you're supposed to be doing. Thinking these thoughts creates feelings like guilt and shame. Those feelings lead us to a lot of inaction towards our goals. We procrastinate with food, drinking, social media, Netflix. It leads us to beating ourselves up. It leads to burnout.
None of those actions or inactions gets us closer to achieving the result we want to achieve.
We walk around believing that there's a magic tonic out there that will solve everything and we don't look at the real solution: how we interpret the world. We can walk around believing something has gone wrong and feeling like crap, or we can walk around reminding ourselves that we're human beings that need rest and have compassion for ourselves.
I'm going to say have “powerful compassion” for ourselves because my client Candace thinks the word compassion sounds wimpy. So if your brain does the same thing, just add the word powerful in front of it.
When we believe that something has gone wrong, we start to look for solutions in the wrong places.
You remember watching old black and white movies where they'd show roaming men driving in caravans selling tonics that wouldn't really do anything except make the buyer feel like they were doing something to solve their ache or pain?
So many of us believe that there's a tonic that will solve how bad we feel, and we reach out for anything we think will solve our pain.
We reach for Netflix, our email, social media, alcohol, food, online shopping.
We reach for all these outside tonics to make us feel better, when they're not getting us any closer to the result we want.
So what's the solution?
I want you to consider that when you feel exhausted, overwhelmed, stressed, guilt, shame, or you feel any other feeling you label as negative, that nothing has gone wrong.
You're supposed to feel these feelings and not push them away.
When we're continually seeking to change what is, we never accept what is. We don't accept that there's a natural ebb and flow of emotions.
50% of the time we're going to feel amazing and 50% of the time we're going to feel bad. If we're pushing away 50% of emotions, then we're pushing away half of our life.
We wouldn't have an understanding of what the amazing feelings were if we didn't have the bad, and vice versa.
But when we accept what is, then there's no fight. We stop resisting the negative feelings, and instead we release them naturally. We don't reach for a false tonic to cure us.
I can hear some of you now: “But if I let myself feel bad — whether it's depressed or sad or anxious — I'm going to stay there and drown in those feelings.”
I'm going to give you a life-preserver, so don't you worry.
The life preserver is called curiosity.
Let me give you an example of how this life preserver works.
Sometimes my clients will want to move too quickly from their current thought to a new thought because their current thought makes them feel bad. They're looking for a quick fix. They look at the new thought as a tonic that will make them feel better.
But they haven't truly let go of the old belief. It's rooted inside of them. They haven't uprooted that belief enough to make room to plant the new thought and let it flourish.
You like all these analogies? I've moved from tonics, to swimming pools to plants all in one podcast.
Anyway, they want to move from thinking a thought like, “I don't have a clue how to do this” to “I'm 100% capable of doing this,” without doing the work it takes to believe and create evidence for themselves to believe the new thought that feels better only temporarily.
My job is to slow them down, so they see when this happens.
That means part of what I do is I help them understand and feel what the first thought creates, which ultimately helps them uproot the old thought.
I do that by getting super curious with them. You can do this with yourself too.
Get curious about what you're feeling and what thought is creating that feeling. Get curious about why you think that. Ask yourself if your thoughts are even true?
That's exactly the process I did when I noticed myself hesitating to record this podcast.
Then you get to decide if you want to keep that thought and that feeling.
The next time you notice yourself becoming frustrated that you're not generating the kind of energy you want to get things done, ask yourself about what you think. This shift in combination with the awareness that you have that you're not supposed to be working all the time can help you rejuvenate more and stop reaching for false tonics.
If you want to learn to implement what I talk about here on this podcast and take these concepts to a deeper level, then coaching with me may be a good fit.
Book a call with me at dinacataldo.com/strategysession and schedule a time to talk to me.
During our session, you'll get a deeper understanding of how your brain works and begin to see patterns that are holding you back from creating what you want in your life.
Okay my friend, I will talk to you next week. Bye.