Kick-Ass Shame: Gym-time Reflections on Mel Robbins Podcast

Listening to an interesting podcast at the gym this morning (Kick-Ass by Mel Robbins). Brought up a couple of self reflection questions.

What are triggers for my own narcissistic behaviors?

What in my Life came easy or energized me?

Procrastination is a stress response. A way of coping with stress/anxiety. There may a root to that stress that is planted in a traumatic or shameful memory. One way to free myself from some of the stress that catalyzes my procrastinating is to discover and root out that shame.

I think my procrastination plan should change:

1. Prepare for success using positive visualization (cleansing breath, visualize a stressful/triggering moment, visualize addressing that stress directly with exercise, breathing, etc.)

2. When I catch myself slipping: pause for recognition, forgive, and refocus

3. When I am mindful of growing stress (angry/defensive thoughts, agitation, fidgeting in my seat, etc.): pause for a breath & address the stress

More fully adopt a Growth Mindset. The concept of Growth Mindsets isn’t new, but when Mel brought it up, I felt uncomfortable and asked myself, “do I still have a fixed mindset?” I don’t know if Dweck would agree, but I feel stuck in a hybrid mindset.

I want to be believe in growth. In many situations I feel I can improve and I even have some examples to fall back on in my life (my voice-over success came only slowly and after many months of consistent, deliberate practice) but there are other situations that are still suffused in shame that feel out of my control and yet all-my-fault (learned helplessness?!).

For example, when I get a correction sheet back from an audiobook I always take that personally. If there are more errors than I feel there should be I get mired in fractured self-talk. I feel both ashamed and victimized. On the flip side if there are too few errors I feel suspicious. It confirms my helplessness—I worked hard on both books, why does this one have an error rate of .1 mistakes an hour and the other one 20 mistakes an hour?! Or I self-recriminate and tell myself that the dramatic increase in accuracy must be because I focused too much on accuracy and not enough on the performance. “Sure, you were accurate, but who’s going to want to listen to that?”

I also want to get into (back into?) developing original content. Both professionally and personally that has felt—for years—like the next step. However, years of well honed procrastination and the shame of failed accomplishments are twin weights that mire me in my old fixed mindset. If you could do this, you’d have done it already. Clearly you are not “one of those people” you are not capable of completing a project of your own devising.

A significant factor in both procrastination and mindset for me seems to be shame. I disagree with Mel that you have to always go to the root before you can change. Navel gazing is its own trap but I am seeing some, albeit nebulous at the moment, shameful memories that could be triggering or reinforcing behaviors that I want to change.