Episode 168:

On this episode, we delve into the unconscious mind and the concept of “limiting beliefs.” It’s the idea that our unconscious mind can hold us back without us even realizing it. So, how do we stop something we’re not even conscious of? The good news is that it is possible, and while it does take hard work, the steps themselves are pretty simple.

This limiting beliefs stuff may sound a little new-agey. I’m a big fan of data and looking at the facts at hand. For me, turning those limiting beliefs to unlimiting beliefs is fascinating because of the science behind it. This isn’t some magic act.

My guest on episode #168 is Karen Brown, author of Unlimiting Your Beliefs. Karen is a mentor and coach who works with people to uncover what might be impeding their progress in work and life. Often, our unconscious thoughts and actions are the source of this impediment.

One of the most interesting turns in the conversation for me was when Karen talked about her experience preparing to be an Ironman Triathlete. Her limiting belief had told her for 28 years that she shouldn’t even be thinking about this. She was not a good swimmer. That was a big hurdle. It was limiting. So, she unlimited her belief, telling herself out loud, “I am a good swimmer.” I asked if she suddenly became a good swimmer. As you might imagine, it took more than that. But giving herself that unlimiting belief propelled her to action. She got a swimming coach. She practiced. And soon enough, she was a good swimmer.

Our conversation is a fascinating look at the unconscious (or subconscious) mind and how it works. Listen to learn more about how to uncover the unconscious limits we put on ourselves and what to do to break that pattern.

Karen Brown is CEO of Velocity Leadership Consulting, a Denver-based business psychology executive and coaching company. With more than 20,000 business coaching hours under her belt, she founded Velocity Leadership Consulting in 2012, after finding her own divine potential while training for and finishing the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.

 

 

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • The science behind limiting beliefs and how to retrain your brain
  • How to make unlimiting beliefs natural and habitual
  • Asking the right questions to uncover the limiting beliefs of your unconscious mind
  • Why writing out your limiting beliefs is so important, and why speaking the opposite out loud is just as important
  • How the skills used in unlimiting your beliefs in one area will have a broad positive impact personally and professionally
  • How to counteract the most common and pernicious limiting belief: I’m not good enough
  • Why our unconscious beliefs and our conscious goals are sometimes at cross-purposes, and what to do about it
  • How, like most things, you’ve got to use it to lose your ability and reshape limiting beliefs
  • One way to get yourself into the unlimiting mindset: name and write down just one of your achievements

The Golden Nuggets:

“It’s very simple and powerful when you tell your unconscious mind what you want. Then its job is to go out and get it.” – @ReadKarenBrown Click To Tweet “An unlimiting belief doesn’t have to be true in the moment. When I first started telling myself ‘I am a great swimmer,’ I was not. Repeating an unlimiting belief will guide you toward the actions that will make it true.” – @ReadKarenBrown Click To Tweet “We've got to tell the unconscious mind what we want. So, every single time a limiting belief comes into your mind, you’ve got to verbalize the opposite. Out loud. You are retraining your brain to unlimit instead of limit.” – @ReadKarenBrown Click To Tweet “As you identify limiting beliefs and counter them, you can develop the habit of unlimiting belief. You can switch it so much more quickly because now, you have a structure as you establish new patterns.” – @ReadKarenBrown Click To Tweet

Subscribe to Build A Better Agency!

Itunes Logo          Stitcher button

Ways to contact Karen Brown:

Speaker 1:

It doesn’t matter what kind of agency you run, traditional, digital, media buying, web dev, PR, whatever your focus, you still need to run a profitable business. That’s why Agency Management Institute started the Build a Better Agency Podcast a few years ago. We help agencies just like yours, grow and scale your business, attract and retain the best talent, make more money and keep more of what you make. Bringing his 25 plus years of experience as both an agency owner and agency consultant, please welcome your host, Drew McLellan.

Drew McLellan:

Hey everybody, Drew McLellan here with another episode of Build a Better Agency. Now one of the reasons why I love the work that we get to do at Agency Management Institute is quite honestly, because I love hanging out with agency owners and agency leaders. You are a committed group of people, you are overachievers, you are funny and smart. And yet, I think for all of you, every one of us has something that we want to get done. We want to write a book, we want to exercise more, we want to build our business, whatever it may be, there are things that we want to do that seem like they are a little out of our reach.

So no matter how much of an overachiever we are, no matter how hard we work, just sort of feels like there are some dreams that aren’t meant to be had. And quite honestly, what I have seen over time is I have seen so many agency owners figure out a way to get those limiting beliefs, to get that idea that you can’t work four days a week and still be successful or you can’t actually take two weeks off and not check your phone or you can’t double the size of your agency or you can’t stop smoking, lose weights, lower your blood pressure, whatever it is, whatever your health goals are. I’ve seen enough of you do it and I know it’s possible. And I know that there is something in all of us that we have to figure out a way to tap.

Which is why I was super excited to invite Karen Brown to the podcast. So let me tell you a little bit about Karen, because she’s a little bit of an unusual guest for us here at Build a Better Agency. Interestingly, she works with a lot of agency owners and agency leaders in her coaching business, but that’s really not her background. So she is a coach and an advisor and also an author. And she helps high achieving type A superstars in their professions and in their personal lives actually accomplish even more. And she does that by helping them understand their unconscious mind and their conscious mind and how those things work together and sometimes do not work together.

So Karen’s written a great book called Unlimiting Your Beliefs, and has really dialed into the idea of that our body and our mind have these patterns. And some of them are from our childhood and some of them are from our professional life. But in many cases, we’re unaware of those patterns, particularly what’s going on in our unconscious mind. And she’s going to give you some stats that are going to blow your mind, no pun intended, about how much of our brain we actively use and how much of that is at the conscious level and how much of that is at the subconscious or unconscious level. And how we can tap into that. And how do we identify when there is conflict between our conscious and unconscious mind. How do we identify those conflicts and resolve them so we can actually accomplish what we want to get done.

And so I suspect this conversation is going to be crazy fast and it’s going to go in some places that normally on the show, we don’t really go to, we say pretty pragmatic and practical. And I think this is going to be a little deeper than sometimes we go and I hope you’ll stick with us, I hope you will stay. And if you find yourself dismissing some of this or thinking, oh, that Drew has gone off the deep end this time. I would challenge you that it seems to me that that’s your unconscious mind telling you don’t listen, don’t listen, you might learn something I don’t want you to know.

I will say this, I’ve read most of the book, I am going to finish the book this weekend. And I’m excited about it. There are some things that I want to do that I have been not able to get to yet. And I’m excited that with some of the techniques. It’s all science based. It’s all very practical and pragmatic once you get to it, you just have to get to sort of the steps of doing it. And there’s some stuff I want to get done.

So I promise I’m going to report back to you probably in a solo cast. What it is that I’m going to tackle after I finish the book and you’re going to hold me accountable to it and I will share with you how I’m doing in terms of getting those limiting beliefs out of the way so that I can accomplish even more for myself and my family and for all of you. So I’m super excited about this interview, I think you’re going to find it fascinating. And so I’m excited to dive in, so let’s do that. So without further ado, Karen, welcome to the show. Thanks so much for joining us.

Karen Brown:

Thanks for having me on Drew, excited to be here.

Drew McLellan:

I am so excited to have this conversation. Because, I’m about halfway through the book. And it’s brilliant. And I just, I think what you teach and talk about is so critical. So my listeners are successful people, they’ve got successful agencies, they’re growing and building teams. But I think all of them at some point or another, and myself included, I think at some point, we sort of feel like we’ve reached our bandwidth, we have nothing more to do, maybe we’ve crossed the four-oh line, and we’re sort of feeling a little tired. And so I think your book’s message, not only is it intellectually interesting, but I find it sort of inspiring that I do have more gas in my tank than I thought I did. And I can do more things. So I’m super excited to have this conversation.

Karen Brown:

Me too, man, this is the juicy stuff.

Drew McLellan:

This is the juicy stuff. So talk a little bit about our brain and the conscious mind versus the unconscious mind and what happens in those two places. And some maybe a misperception or two that we have about that.

Karen Brown:

Sure. All right. So for the sake of our conversation today, let’s just agree that the conscious, sorry, the unconscious brain is the same as the subconscious because I get that question out of the gate a lot. Are those two different? Yes, in scientific terms, they are different, but we’re not going into a science class today. So I like to use the term unconscious mind and subconscious mind just for our conversation today means the same. All right. So the unconscious mind is actually the primary driver of everything we think and do in a day. And it’s also responsible for all learning, behavior and change. In fact, this is a staggering statistic that only 0.008% of all daily thoughts and actions are conscious.

Drew McLellan:

That’s crazy. That’s a crazy number.

Karen Brown:

Yes.

Drew McLellan:

When you think about how crazy and busy and noisy your brain is, it makes you wonder, wow, what is the unconscious sound like, it must be insane.

Karen Brown:

Actually no, the unconscious is a very simplistic yet powerful machine. And actually, the analogy I like to use for the unconscious mind is caveman brain. Because it is so simplistic, it thinks like a caveman, but the processing speed is faster than anything we know up or can measure.

Drew McLellan:

So how do we tap more into that part of our brain? Because it sounds like we’re not using one of the most powerful parts of our brain as well, we haven’t trained it or we’re not tapping into it. So how do we go about getting there? And what gets in the way of that?

Karen Brown:

I’m so glad you asked. First of all, what gets in the way of tapping into it is this pattern and this premise of thinking consciously. Well, I’m making a decision to do this, I’m making a decision to grow my agency or expand my services. And so that’s what we’re going to do. And here’s how we’re going to do it. Now, what I often find in working with clients in these businesses is that what happens is the unconscious mind and what’s going on in it, say unconscious values about your career, that’s a big one that gets in the way because if you’re pursuing something at a conscious level, say growth or expansion, it is in direct conflict with say your first top five or top three unconscious career values and say your number one is something like creativity or doing phenomenal or pioneering work, then those two things are going to be in conflict and you’re going to find yourself holding back from and probably not getting the results you want on expansion or growth or both.

Drew McLellan:

So how do you figure out what your unconscious mind is thinking? So you can align?

Karen Brown:

Yes, you can align. And the first thing, the first way that we get a glimpse of what’s going on in the unconscious mind is to ask questions. So we ask questions like when we go through limiting beliefs, we’ll ask a question, which is, what is stopping me from achieving X? So whatever your goal or dream is, ask yourself, what’s stopping me from achieving that goal or dream? And then it’s amazing what happens. Now, your first response, sort of reactionary response is usually, well, I don’t know. And stick with it. Because keep asking yourself that question. Because the answers all live in our unconscious mind. We’re just not used to asking ourselves questions like that, we’re actually used to the other pattern, the conscious pattern, which is I think of something, I make a decision, I think of something, I make a decision.

And then we want to get an action about that. That’s all conscious kind of stuff, but it’s all being driven from the unconscious. So it just makes sense then, when you ask a question that’s actually answered in the unconscious, then you’re going to be able to get into action and achieve it more quickly and easily because now you’re self aware of what’s going on. Now, there’s sometimes then, if there is a conflict somewhere that, that awareness is just step one and then we’ll need to do something to resolve it, that’s actually the relatively easy part. The tougher part is A being blind that you don’t know what’s going on and B not choosing to do anything once you become aware.

Drew McLellan:

So I know that you’ve been doing this work for a long time. But in the book, and I know in some of the other appearances you’ve made, one of the focal points of your story is the fact that you really mastered all of this stuff when you decided that at the age of, I think 46, you were going to compete in an Ironman competition, right?

Karen Brown:

Yes, yes, actually, it had been a 28 year dream of mine that during that whole time, I was very outwardly successful. I climbed the corporate ladder, became an executive in different companies, different industries, and had all the trappings of success. And I think, like you said earlier, probably felt like I was nearing the big four-oh or I was at it. And I was at my bandwidth. And thought, well, what else is there, but the whole time I had this nagging feeling that was growing deep inside of me. And it was always related to thinking about doing the Ironman World Championships as an amateur athlete.

And what I found was, I was holding myself back that entire time through something called limiting beliefs. When I would say, well, the folks that compete in the Ironman are elite and I am just a recreational athlete, how could I possibly get there and compete? And that is how a limiting belief works. You think of it, you come up with whatever the limitation is, it comes straight from your unconscious, because think caveman brain. In caveman times, our unconscious mind had to keep us protected, it had to keep us alive from threats, right?

And so that’s actually the default pattern of your unconscious mind. When you think about doing something big or scary or audacious or that you haven’t done before, your unconscious pattern comes in and says, “Oh, no, no, that might be harmful to us, that might kill us.” Like an Ironman might have, right. And nope, nope, we’re not going to be able to do that. And it quickly looks for a previous pattern, maybe an experience you’ve had that it thinks is the same. And then says, “Oh, well see, this thing is just like that thing and you’re not going to be able to do it.”

Drew McLellan:

Interesting. So I have to guess, I would guess that I’m typical in some ways of my listeners. But I would have to guess that the most common limiting belief that my audience has, and probably most business owners have is, either there’s not enough time. I don’t have enough time to do this. I don’t have enough time to exercise every day. I don’t have enough time to do the new business things I need to. I don’t have enough time to actually mentor my employees. How does somebody wrestle that limiting belief down to the ground?

Karen Brown:

That’s a great question. I get this all the time. Right, pun intended. First of all, the conscious thing to be aware of here is that, yes, we all have 24 hours in a day and we have enough time for everything we actually want to do and oftentimes, it’s just finding either the things that we need to say no to that are taking the time away from what we really want to do, which I found in my journey, or it’s doing it in a more efficient manner, which we can go through that in a moment, which is how to effectively, you said mentor, but really coach team members. Because once you switch into a different pattern there, man, you tap into people’s natural motivation, their engagement and you will spend far less time mentoring them and pushing them to do things, you will ignite them and then just literally get out of their way. It’s really cool.

So with regard to limiting beliefs in time and the unconscious mind, first of all, remember that question I went through earlier, which is actually part of a scientific technique and the way, the scientific way that you can conquer and transform limiting beliefs, right, because that’s really all that’s going on there. It’s a limiting belief that you’re just getting caught in that thought pattern. So the first thing to do is, and we have a document for this, so and you can also just write it on a piece of paper. But it’s important to write this out with that old fashioned device called a pen and a piece of paper.

Drew McLellan:

What. There’s not an app for this?

Karen Brown:

No, there’s not an app for this. Because this is one of the gateways to the unconscious mind. Now remember, the unconscious mind is caveman brain, okay. So the gateways to it are like antiquated or old fashioned, old school.

Drew McLellan:

Simple.

Karen Brown:

That’s the thing, right? So writing things out, this is why journaling is oftentimes so effective for people. Also, asking yourself questions and writing down the answers that come up for you, capturing them, writing them out. Also, visualizing what something will look, feel and sound like to achieve. That these are all doorways into the unconscious mind, okay. So for limiting beliefs, basically, we’re just going to use a sheet of paper and we’re going to ask ourselves that beginning question, what is stopping me from achieving X?

And if your first answer, and this is a key point, capture everything as you think of it in the exact way you think of it. Now, everyone out there is probably an agency owner and/or on a some sort of leadership capacity. And so you guys are used to marketing things. Marketing spin there.

Drew McLellan:

Your spin.

Karen Brown:

No, just write it down exactly as it comes out of your mind, okay, and in the same order. Capture it. And if the number one thing is I don’t have enough time, okay, that is a limiting belief. Because when you think things like, I don’t have enough time, money, talent, skill, support, those are usually the top five, that is, in essence, a limiting belief, okay. So capture all of the limiting beliefs that come out. And when I did this, and it was related to the Ironman. First of all, I thought that my personal dream of the Ironman had nothing to do and no effect on or impact on my professional life or performance.

And I couldn’t have been more wrong. I thought they were two separate things. And actually, they were inextricably linked. And once I tapped into this personal dream of mine of the Ironman and started growing and developing and using these scientific techniques, I got so much better in my professional performance. It was staggering. So those are inextricably linked.

Drew McLellan:

So talk a little bit more about that. Was that just because once you learned how to tap into your unconscious mind because of your personal goal, then you were able to do that professionally as well?

Karen Brown:

Yes, it was a method of expansion. And specifically regarding time, because this is such a big thing, especially for the folks in your tribe and me at the time. So what I found and having to go through this, first of all, when you take on an Ironman, you have to do two to three workouts a day, six days a week.

Drew McLellan:

It’s not just I want to get my 10,000 steps in.

Karen Brown:

Right. So two to three workouts a day. And I also was running an office or an agency just like your listeners. So I still had to perform and meet all of my daily professional responsibilities. I wasn’t able to shift and work later or work longer or work on the weekend, because on the weekend, I had longer workouts to do. And by the time I was done with them, I was on the couch sleeping.

Drew McLellan:

I can’t even imagine.

Karen Brown:

What I had to do was figure out a better way. So the time I had was finite, but I had to still do these things. And I had to figure out a way to do it. What I had to learn was to identify the things that I had to say no to, those things that I was probably wasting time on that more than wasting time, they were eating up the critical time that I needed to achieve my goal or dream.

Like back then I would watch TV at night. Now I know, now we have all these other devices and Hulu and all this other stuff. But it’s essentially the same thing. Right? I often call my cell phone a dream killer. Because it’s all a bunch of distractions that come through that thing, right, either it’s social media or it’s notifications, about messages or something like that, or it’s a place for entertainment. Well, in essence though, all of those are distractions, because they take time. And so when you identify what are the things that are distracting you the most and specifically getting in your way of achieving what you really want, it’s a powerful thing to say no to them.

Like I literally during that time, and this was the first time I learned this, and maybe for your listeners, this will be the first time they learn it, I learned that my cell phone had an off button. Or there was an off setting for notifications. Or I could turn off my apps. I mean, just like this or I could even just choose to pick one or two times a day to respond to incoming messages, emails, texts, phone calls, whatever. And I could set up auto responses that said, hey, really appreciate you getting touch, I will be returning your message during this time and this time, and then I would stick to it, right.

What it also forced me to do was the time that I was working, I was so much more highly focused. Because I didn’t have extra time to waste. I didn’t have the luxury of extra time. And what I found was, when I did this, I found the limiting belief. And then I actually went to work on it. I had much more time than I ever realized before. In fact, I ended up having extra time even though I was having to complete all of these workouts and everything to get to the Ironman.

Drew McLellan:

I think a lot of people when they get to the, I want to do an Ironman or let’s ratchet it back for somebody whose goal perhaps is not as lofty, I just want to exercise three times a week, because I’ve got a lot of agency owners that it’s a high stress job and it’s something that they want to do, and they just can’t find the time for it, or I want to spend more time with my kids or whatever it is. But when they get to the limiting belief of I don’t have enough time, they get stuck.

And so therefore they don’t keep moving, they dismiss the goal or the idea as impossible. So I just want to make sure I’m understanding you. So what you’re saying is the trick to get into this is to keep pushing past the I don’t have time and say what does that really mean? Where how am I spending my time? What’s eating up my time? Or whatever the limiting belief is, I’m not smart enough, I’m not skilled enough, whatever it is, it really is pushing past or have that crust of the limiting belief and finding out what’s underneath, right?

Karen Brown:

Let me dial this in, because this is a great question. All right. So when we came up with that limiting belief, the number one being, I don’t have enough time. Then what we do to scientifically transform that limiting belief is then we go to the right hand side of that same piece of paper where we captured that limiting belief and write down the opposite of it. So I have more than enough time, okay. Now, here’s where it gets really fun. Because basically what we need to do to transform or conquer a limiting belief, to open up our unconscious mind, to be able to see these opportunities for time that we really do have that we’re just, that we need to say no to, we’ve got to tell the unconscious mind that that’s what we want.

Because right now, it’s just holding us back by saying, I don’t have enough time. I don’t have enough time. See, you don’t have enough time, right. Here’s what you do. Capture that piece of paper and that limiting belief and carry it with you every day. Now, when you catch yourself thinking that limiting belief, stop what you’re doing and verbalize, and I don’t care where you are. There’s no reason this can’t be fun. Verbalize.

Drew McLellan:

Or freak out a crowd.

Karen Brown:

Yeah, exactly. It is an icebreaker, that’s for sure. And you’ll get some funny looks as well. Like I said, go with it. Have fun. You guys are marketing and advertising people. All right, so stop what you’re doing right then and verbalize the unlimited belief, which is, I have more than enough time. Now what you do by doing that is you are changing, you’re actively changing that habitual thought pattern in your unconscious mind. And you’re literally telling it, I do have enough time. Then what happens is, your unconscious mind will start identifying these ways that you can get more time.

Honestly, take it from me, I’ve gone through this, a ton of other clients have gone through this as well using the same exact technique. And it works like gangbusters with everything. So what happens is because you told your unconscious mind this is what I want and I have enough time. Then these great ideas bubble up. It then like serves them up to you on a platter. It goes oh, yeah, see, we could cut that out right there. See, we don’t need that right there. Yep. You don’t need to do this. Amazing. Everybody test this out. It works like gangbusters.

And what’s even cooler about it is when that person or those people around you hear you verbalize your unlimited belief, I have more than enough time. They’re going to ask you what you’re doing. Clue them in, share this, share this, okay, because it’s going to help them too, because we all suffer from the same thing which is limiting beliefs.

Drew McLellan:

Right. And is time the most powerful limiting belief or is there one that gets in our way even more than that one?

Karen Brown:

The one that trumps time is essentially, I’m not good enough. I can’t do it.

Drew McLellan:

And do you think everybody has that?

Karen Brown:

Every one. Yes. This is why I wrote the book. And this is why I’m on a mission with it to eradicate limiting beliefs and transform our world because this is the number one scientifically proven thing that holds everyone back.

Drew McLellan:

Let’s take a quick break and then we’ll come back and talk about how we make that limiting belief go away. Thanks for tuning in to Build a Better Agency. Just wanted to take a quick second and remind you that throughout the year, AMI offers workshops for agency owners, agency leaders and account executives. So if you head over to the AMI website and you check out under the training tab, you’re going to find a calendar of all of the workshops we offer throughout the year. We cover quite a wide variety of topics, everything from bizdev to creating a content machine for your agency to making sure that you are running your business based on the best financial metrics and dashboards that you can. We also have a workshop on agency owner management hacks, all the best practices that agency owners are using to run their businesses well and profitably.

And of course, you’re always going to find our account executive boot camp and our advanced AE boot camp. So go ahead and check it out on the website. And hopefully, one of those will meet a need for you and your agency and we’ll see you soon. Let’s get back to the episode. We are back with Karen Brown and we are talking about how to tap into our unconscious mind to eliminate the beliefs that get in our way of really accomplishing and achieving everything that we want, everything that we’re capable of. And right before the break, we were, Karen was saying that the belief that haunts and taunts most people is the, I’m not good enough belief. And so we took a break. And now I want to dig into a little bit. How do I make that one go away?

Karen Brown:

Well, the I’m not good enough is usually an umbrella for a lot of other more specific limiting beliefs. Like mine for the Ironman was, well, they’re elite athletes and I’m a recreational athlete, how could I possibly compete? If you bubble that up, that’s essentially I’m not good enough. But what the specific limiting beliefs were underneath it is what we really want to unearth, okay. So there were things like, I’m not a fast runner. I’m not a good swimmer. I don’t have enough time.

Drew McLellan:

This are probably kind of critical to an Ironman.

Karen Brown:

Well kind of.

Drew McLellan:

Run and swim.

Karen Brown:

Being that the first leg of it is a swim, that’s important. Also, things like I would think, I don’t have the time, I don’t have the support. I actually had a partner, a husband then who said I would actually never get there. So I had that too. Like probably a lot of people in your audience. Also, things like, I’m not a triathlete. I’ve never done this before. I mean, I have never even done a sprint triathlon, nothing, zero. So all of those. And that’s what we need to get to, that’s why you capture them all on the piece of paper, because you got to get them all out and identified so you can look at them. And then so that you can actively transform them. Because it’s nothing more than a habitual thought pattern, but look at the big impact that it’s having.

Drew McLellan:

Well, it’s almost like it’s playing at a frequency that why you can’t hear it, it’s like tainting your brain. So it’s like how do I A, put it to a frequency that I can hear? And then how do I change the tune?

Karen Brown:

Yes, that’s a great analogy. Perfect.

Drew McLellan:

So now that I’ve identified what those are, like, well, I’m not a good swimmer or whatever they are. And in our world, it might be well, I’m in a small market. So how can I be really great or I have a hard time finding the right employees or our clients don’t really appreciate what we do, whatever it is, I can’t really get to my full greatness. How do we then let, once we’ve identified them on this sheet of paper, how do we then begin to change them?

Karen Brown:

So that was the process that we went through a moment ago, where you identify them all on the left side of the page, and on the right side of the page, you start with the first one and you write the exact opposite of it.

Drew McLellan:

So like you wrote down, I am a good swimmer.

Karen Brown:

Yeah.

Drew McLellan:

I don’t know, were you a good swimmer?

Karen Brown:

No, I was a terrible swimmer. Now, here’s the transformation that I underwent, though, because I had to engage the power of my unconscious mind by saying I am a good swimmer, to start making strides in that area. I mean, I also had to take action on it, right, I hired a separate swim coach just to help me in swimming. But when I did that, it made it so much easier for me to physically make the adjustments to become a good swimmer. Again, it’s very simplistic and powerful when you tell your unconscious mind what you want, then its job is to go out and get it.

Drew McLellan:

So by telling it that you were a good swimmer, it started trying to figure out how to actually make you a good swimmer.

Karen Brown:

Exactly.

Drew McLellan:

So I have to think most people don’t ever do any of this. Right. So most people go around working on the 0.008 part of their brain forever, right?

Karen Brown:

Yes.

Drew McLellan:

Why do you think that is? Why do you think? Because this is revolutionary stuff. And it’s all based in science. You’re not just making this up, it’s not all woo woo stuff. It’s scientifically founded. So why do we as a people not know this? And why don’t we use the power of our unconscious mind? Why don’t we all do this?

Karen Brown:

Well, the first reason is that we, not all of us want to be faced with the fact that we’re all capable of more than we think. Honestly, you know those zombies who are going through life and we all know who these are, we know what they look like, they’re sort of going through life and they’re just riding the pleasure train, they’re kind of just riding from one thing to another. And it’s just one short gratification and then a dry spell, and then another short gratification, material things. The trappings of success that I talked about before, very materialistic kind of shallow stuff. Well, those zombies that are walking around, they don’t want to believe that there’s actually more to this life because then they might have to go find it.

Drew McLellan:

Got it.

Karen Brown:

They might have to figure out how to find it. And a lot of folks just don’t want to deal with that. They are the folks that are asking those questions and do have that nagging feeling inside like I did, of, okay, well, isn’t there more to it than this?

Drew McLellan:

What if I could do that?

Karen Brown:

Exactly. What if I can do that? What am I really capable of? Those are the folks that will do this. And I have to say, I’m seeing this growing a little bit now. Whereas 10 years ago, 20 years ago, oh, my gosh, nobody talked about this kind of stuff. So it’s becoming less of a secret now, even with the movie a few years ago called The Secret, that sort of started it. But it didn’t do a very good job of explaining the specific ways that your unconscious and conscious mind work together or are in conflict and what to do about it to bring out your true capability.

Drew McLellan:

Well, and I think that movie and the book, they didn’t really talk about the science part of it, so it did feel a little new age and woo woo like. So I think the premise, I think you’re right is in alignment, but they just didn’t drill deep enough for people. I think a lot, most business owners are pretty logical people. They want data, they’re used to sort of making big decisions, as you said, so I think they need something, they needed to be rooted in something real to really be able to wrap their arms around it and say, “Okay, I can do this or I can buy this or I can explore this.”

Karen Brown:

Absolutely. I mean, you have to have… If you’re a logical and smart and accomplished person, then you’ve got to see the steps. Somebody’s got to explain the steps and they’ve got to make sense to you. And I remember in The Secret, their big word was manifest. You do this and then it’s going to manifest, you finding the rock star parking spot right in front. Okay, well, how? That how is missing.

Drew McLellan:

What does that mean?

Karen Brown:

Exactly. And the how is what is in the book, that’s exactly I wrote it, because I thought, you know what, I want everyone to have access to these. They are simple. They are scientific and they work for everyone and everything. But no one is sharing them.

Drew McLellan:

Do you find that? So once somebody understands this, and maybe once they’ve tried it, my guess is that maybe something a little small. Do we learn how to do this? Does it become kind of a habit, do we learn how to do this faster and more efficiently? Because we’re sort of wired to every time we bump into a limiting belief or something, whatever, we’re not getting to our desired goal, whatever it may be. Once we’ve done it a couple of times, does it become sort of our default reaction to not accomplishing what we want so that we actually can move those barriers faster? Or is it always you have to labor through each step? And I guess what I’m asking is, does it become natural? Does it become sort of part of how you react to the world?

Karen Brown:

That is the good news. Yes, it does become easier. And it does become more of your default habit. Now, I would be lying if I said that you only have to conquer limiting beliefs about something once. No. Because as you grow and progress and develop in something, you’re going to come up with new limiting beliefs, right? I mean, that’s honestly why your unconscious mind was created to keep you safe and to immediately ascertain whether something was friend, food or foe. So that you knew what to do with it. But you are changing that habitual thought pattern. And it becomes easier and easier over time. And you see right away when something is a limiting belief, instead of right now, when you’re like, “Well, I just don’t have enough time.” And that’s a fact, right.

Drew McLellan:

So you start to recognize it for what it is.

Karen Brown:

Absolutely. And you can switch it so much more quickly. Because now you have a structure. And what you’ve also done is you have set up new patterns. So let me share this other way that your unconscious mind works. So if you think of your cell phone battery, like when you take your cell phone off the charger in the morning and it’s all charged up, right? It’s at 100%. And it processes really fast. Well, when you’re getting down to like 10% or 4% or whatever, it’s not processing fast. It’s moving slow, right?

And so your unconscious mind works the same. What happens is it is always looking to preserve energy. And the way it does that is it looks for patterns of behavior, and it bases all of this on your past behavior, not what you desire, not what you intend, it’s all on past behavior. And it looks very simplistically, very high level at all these different patterns and says, okay, well, what you’re telling me you want to do right now is like this other pattern 10 years ago or 15 years ago or however many patterns they can find that seem the same. And then it’ll say, well, look, we didn’t get good results on those, so we’re not going to get good results on these so we’re not going to do it.

Drew McLellan:

Or that used to make you very happy when you ate a whole pie or whatever. So you should have a whole pie.

Karen Brown:

Yes. Because you will feel happy again. Yes. Exactly. Yes, these are nothing more than patterns. And that’s also the good news and the bad news. So the longer you hang on to this stuff and don’t change it, the tougher it’s going to be should you ever choose to go back and try to change it. Once you do change it, though. And you become good at recognizing the patterns and then changing them actively, it becomes easier and easier. And you have to do less and less of it. It does feel natural. It does feel like your default.

Drew McLellan:

Well, and now you’re substituting the new patterns eventually. And so then, I would assume then now your unconscious mind actually helps you do what you want to do, right?

Karen Brown:

Yes.

Drew McLellan:

Because [crosstalk 00:41:48] new patterns.

Karen Brown:

Every time you accomplish something that you said you wanted to, then you come up against the next thing, the next goal, the next dream, the next challenge. And then you’re right, you have a new pattern that’s been established that your unconscious mind can look at and go, oh, well yeah, you did this successfully. You did this successfully. You did this, this and this. We could probably do that.

Drew McLellan:

What gets in the way of people using these techniques effectively? What do we have to guard? So if people are like, “Okay, I’m going to try this.” What do we need to guard against? What do we need to keep our eye out for? What derails this process?

Karen Brown:

First of all, is the disbelief that it will work? Second is that like anything else, people just stop using the process over time. They stop pushing themselves to use the process every single time. It’s sort of like the process we go through when we’re bumping around on the internet, right, we’re just bumping around from one thing to another, checking out videos and ideas and whatever. Well, it’s like someone said recently, if we actually stopped to execute on all of the information that we’ve taken in, looking to help ourselves move forward and do better and progress, instead of continuing to just take in more and more and more information, most of which we will ultimately have to drop.

Because our brain is not an infinite storage facility. So I find that that also gets in the way. People just, instead of using something that’s tried and true, even though it’s very simplistic and always works, they’re like, “Oh, but maybe there’s something else out there.” And they just keep taking in more and more information, which then just clogs up the works. Then they’re kind of like, “Oh, I’m not sure what I should do.” Which means they usually do nothing.

Drew McLellan:

Well, I would guess that sometimes, again, whether it’s the unconscious mind or whatever, I think sometimes when you’ve held a belief for a really long time, there’s a part of you that doesn’t really want to be wrong, either. So if I believe that I don’t have enough time and all of a sudden I find out I had all of this time, all of, for the last decade, I’ve had more time than I thought. I think there’s some comfort in the fact that I just don’t have enough time.

Or I can’t do an Ironman or I can’t, whatever the belief is. So I would guess in some ways, our own, I don’t know if it’s ego or desire to be right, gets in the way of us pursuing this sometimes I would bet.

Karen Brown:

Agree. And it’s absolutely ego. Yes. And I will say, I’ll admit that it was probably some ego on my part as well for that whole 28 year period that I held myself back from the Ironman, because I had the same thought process. What if I have what it takes inside of me to do the Ironman and I’m not tapping into it? What if I’m squandering my ability? That feels icky.

Drew McLellan:

I know you work with clients all the time on this stuff and I know you do a lot of coaching around it as well as writing the book. What is the most remarkable, other than you doing the Ironman, what is the most remarkable transformation you’ve seen? And what do you think it took?

Karen Brown:

Well, I’ll share two with you who are actually agency owners like our listeners. So first case is a gentleman who’s in his 50s, let’s say, and he was not achieving the growth goals that he had set year after year after year, it’s like a broken record, every single year was the same. And it’s not like he didn’t think he was positioning his agency well or had good clients, outwardly, it looked like he was doing the right things to get where he wanted to go.

And so we started working together. That was our original goal. And what I quickly unearthed with him is that his unconscious career values were in direct conflict with his growth goal. In fact, when they all came to the surface, it was like number 15 on his list of unconscious career values, which was growth and making money. Number one was doing quality innovative work.

Drew McLellan:

And he couldn’t see how those two could both happen.

Karen Brown:

No, because here’s the thing. We are all walking around with no clue about what our unconscious values are. I mean, I had never seen this information anywhere. And it’s a really easy process to walk people through. We just asked three questions, and that’s what brings them out. But they hang out more at a, we think of them at more of a conscious level. So if I said, hey, what’s important to you about your career? You might say, “Oh, having success and a successful agency and doing great things for the people that work for me.” That’s usually what comes up.

But that those really are not your unconscious career values that are driving all of your actions every day. So what this owner would do is, he would never work on business development, that would always take a backseat. He felt bad anytime he was taking time away from doing creative, innovative work, to do business development. And he would also never ask or never dream of ask his core leadership team to also engage in business development.

Drew McLellan:

Interesting.

Karen Brown:

So based on that path, he was never going to get there. Now, the really cool news is that, in a very short period of time, I mean, we unearthed that in the first six months and then aligned his unconscious career values with his business goals. And just this year, 2018, we had evaluation done by an M&A firm and it blew his mind how much his firm is now worth should he want to sell it. It, honestly, like fourfold.

Drew McLellan:

It’s cool.

Karen Brown:

So the second example I’ll share is another gentleman and I’m not picking on gents. I love gents. We work with a lot of them. And I see the same thing from women. Just happened to be the two major examples I’m going to share. So this guy, massively successful, almost in spite of himself, because he would treat employees really badly. It would be, he treat them really good until they would make a mistake that he thinks they should have known better about.

Drew McLellan:

It’s a little passive aggressive there.

Karen Brown:

Yeah. And there were a lot of layers to it. This gets into more of the behavioral side of things. But what we were able to determine is that the patterns that he was displaying came from his childhood and the patterns that he lived with his father. And so they were sort of just stuck in the past just driving all of his current day actions because that’s what his unconscious brain, that’s the only thing it really, the only example it really had to hold on to, it was what it learned back then. And it never, he had never done any other development work to change it.

Drew McLellan:

Interesting.

Karen Brown:

And it had been really detrimental. I mean, word was out on the street that was a revolving door. I mean, retention was in the toilet. And that’s ultimately what drove him to start working with us because it got so painful. And the good news is, once we unearthed it, and I will always remember what he said the day that we started to unpack it. There was the longest pause and he said, “Oh, my gosh, do you know how long I have been doing this?” And he said, “Wow, I can’t even believe that it was so simple and that I couldn’t see it.” And I said, well, that’s the thing about this stuff. It’s not intuitive and it is not logical. It really does require asking the right questions to bring it up from your unconscious mind, because it’s all in there. That’s where it got created.

And you got to know what you’re doing too. It’s like, you don’t open up the hood of your car and just dive in if you don’t really know what you’re doing under there. It’s the same thing with the work that we do. I mean, there’s a lot of science behind it. You can do a lot of damage if you don’t know what you’re doing. But it is also a simplistic sort of like Occam’s razor, the premise that the simplest answer is the right one.

Drew McLellan:

Well, and I think that’s, I mean, that’s the tool that your book becomes, right, is that it walks you through how to do all of this stuff in a way that’s understandable for the common Joe.

Karen Brown:

And it’s relatable, because, and I wanted it to be relatable for everyone. Because in the book, I talk about, in interviews, people hear that I did the Ironman World Championships and I’m a subject matter expert, and blah blah blah. And so they automatically start this thinking that they’re not related to me. And I very quickly in the book and through my story share that, you know what, I am not naturally talented, I am nothing special.

And I would have been the last person probably on the earth that anyone would have bet on to be able to do the Ironman World Championships as an amateur athlete. But that’s the exact point I wanted to make that this is what we’re all capable of. We all have things like the Ironman World Championships or bigger inside of us that we are capable of. And it’s just waiting for you to tap into it.

Drew McLellan:

Well, as I told you before we started the interview, my fear was that there was no way I was going to be able to pack all my questions into our hour. And I have proven to be absolutely accurate, because I have get another three hours for the questions. But we need to wrap this up. So here’s my last question for you is after somebody has listened to this interview and if they’re still sort of a Doubting Thomas, perhaps, or they think, well, you know what, that’s fine.

But I really don’t have enough time or I really am not good enough for whatever it is. What’s one thing? What’s a question they can ask themselves? Or what is something that they can? What’s the thing that would give them a little bit of a clue that perhaps there is a chink in the armor and they can master these techniques that you teach so well in the book, and that they can really change the things in their life that perhaps are causing them not to achieve all their goals or maybe not to be as happy as they want to be or as healthy as they want to be? Is there a question they can ask themselves or a dipstick that they can put somewhere and go, “Oh, look, I am half empty.

Karen Brown:

I would say two things to that. First of all, think of something else you have achieved in your life that maybe you didn’t think you could, because I think everybody has at least one thing. Every client I’ve ever asked no matter what the circumstance, they always have at least one thing that they go back to and go, “Yeah, there was this time that I did this and I really didn’t think I could.” So go back to that at least one thing, and if there are more than one thing, great, write all of them down. Again, capture them so that you can see them on paper. That will begin the process of you seeing that maybe you can do something.

Also, there is another statistic that I’m happy to share that I learned in the two years that it took me from pursuing the Ironman to actually crossing the finish line. And that is that when we think we’re at our limit, we’re actually only at 60% of it. And a lot of times, I use that as motivation and also a piece of clarity and perspective. So on my water bottle, is that we’re on my bike for the Ironman, when I would go out and train, I would write a big 60% on my water bottle. And I actually did that for the race that day too. Just to remind me that when I feel like I’ve given it all, I don’t have anything else in the tank, I’m only at 60%, I still have another 40% in there. And it’s amazing when I just see that and think of it, I get more energy like I’m rejuvenated and I am ignited to go the distance.

Drew McLellan:

That’s a great statistic. That’s awesome. Karen, this has been great. Thank you. This has been, I knew this would be a fascinating conversation. And I know that it is, my listeners are overachievers, they have accomplished great things. And so for them to all know that, no matter what they’ve accomplished, there’s so much more they can do if they choose to. I think that’s an exciting message to bring to them. So thank you.

Karen Brown:

And that’s who we work with, overachievers. You’re our tribe. We love you.

Drew McLellan:

That’s right. So if people want to learn more about you, we will certainly put a link to the book in the show notes, excuse me. But if they want to learn more about you and they want to reach out to you, what’s the best way for them to find you?

Karen Brown:

Best way is to go to this address. The name of my company is Velocity Leadership Consulting. So go to velocityleadershipconsulting.com/build.

Drew McLellan:

And that’s a page that you’ve built for our listeners and you’re going to have some tools and resources and things for them to tap into. So that’s awesome. Thank you for doing that.

Karen Brown:

Yes, yes. And hey, you know what listeners, when you go there and use it, share it. We’re on a mission here. Help other people along?

Drew McLellan:

This has been great. We haven’t even tapped into how you can use this with your employees or your family or anything. So there’s so plenty to talk about. So we’ll have to go back and do that another time.

Karen Brown:

I would love that. A show on how to effectively coach your employees. That’s a rocket one.

Drew McLellan:

That would be fun. Thank you so much for your time and sharing your expertise and your passion. It’s infectious. So I appreciate it.

Karen Brown:

Thank you for the privilege.

Drew McLellan:

You bet. All right, guys, this wraps up another episode of Build a Better Agency. I know I say this all the time, but I’m going to say it again, do not just listen to these things, take them. Remember what Karen said, this is not just the 12th TED Talk that you’ve listened to today, this is stuff that is specifically for you to take action on. And so go to that landing page that she built out for you, grab some of the tools, go grab the book, think about this stuff. Imagine what you are capable of if you’re only at 60%, because that’s a staggering thought.

So please, please, please do not just tuck this away, put it into action and let it help you build the agency and the life that you want to have. That’s why we’re here. That’s why we’re doing this. And so I beg of you to actually put this stuff into action. I’m going to be back next week with another guest like Karen who’s going to stretch your brain a little bit and get you thinking in a different way. And in the meantime, if you need to track me down, you can find me over at agencymanagementinstitute.com and I will catch you next week. Thanks.

Believe it or not, that wraps up another episode of build a better agency. Man, the time goes by quick. Love sharing this content with you. And I love spending the time with you. So thanks so much for listening and sticking all the way to the very end. And for those of you that did stick around to the end, I’ve got a special new twist for you. So many of our podcast guests have books or other things that really expand upon the information and knowledge that they share with us during the podcast.

And so we’ve reached out to them and we’ve asked them if they would like to give away some of their books or whatever classes, whatever it may be. And we’re going to throw some AMI things in there as well. We’re going to have some AMI swag and we’re going to actually give away some workshops. So all you have to do to be in all of the drawings, you only have to do this once, is go to agencymanagementinstitute.com\podcastgiveaway. So again, agencymanagementinstitute.com\podcastgiveaway. Give us your email address and your mailing address. And every week you will be eligible for whatever drawing we’re doing. And we’re going to change it up every week. So we’re going to have a lot of variety and we will pop an email to you if you are the lucky winner. You can also go back to that page and see who won last week and what they won. So you can see what you’re in the running for.

So if you have any questions about that or anything agency related, you know you can reach me at [email protected] and I will talk to you next week. Thanks. That’s a wrap to this week’s episode of Build a Better Agency. Visit agencymanagementinstitute.com to check out our workshops, coaching packages and all the other ways we serve agencies just like yours. Thanks for listening.