With everything that is currently happening in the world, it can be difficult, and even at times, leaves a bad taste, to be happy. Nevertheless, it is still very important to understand that it is okay to be happy, especially during this time where we need more reasons to be one. In this episode, Jason Wrobel and Whitney Lauritsen bring over a guest to share how we can make sense of finding happiness in these troubled times. They sit down with Taylor Proctor—a transformational happiness mentor, happiness podcaster, and speaker—who provides counterintuitive approaches to success. Together they talk about the societal checklist that often dictates what makes us happy and how we can find happiness on our own terms instead. They also discuss acceptance, increasing confidence, vulnerability, and manifestation, tapping into how we can recalibrate ourselves to enjoy the journey and not be so myopically fixated on the goal. Plus, Taylor, Jason, and Whitney also talk about creating a happiness habit, having a vision board, being a multi-passionate entrepreneur, and more. Tune into this conversation to get reminded that happiness, at the end of the day, is having the security in who you are.
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How To Be Really Happy On Our Own Terms With Taylor Proctor
Counterintuitive Approaches To Success
I feel like lately with all of the changes, chaos, evolutions, questions, uncertainty, madness and beauty on the planet. Everything that has been happening here in 2020. It’s created what I’ve noticed something interesting around happiness. I’ve been looking at friends, colleagues and acquaintances who’ve been getting married or eloping or buying houses or cars or things like that. It seems like happiness has become a little bit of a dirty word. I know that might sound like happiness is a dirty word, but I’ve noticed that there seems to be a lot of a mentality going around of struggle and being on the front lines, being in a space of, “It’s not time to thrive. It’s not time to be happy. It’s time to do the work. It’s time to be an activist. It’s time to suffer together and get through this together.” I’m curious when I bring up this idea of happiness being a dirty word, how do you feel about that, Taylor? What’s your response to that?
You’re spot on. Everyone feels like this is a time to be miserable and to come misery with each other. Other than that, I fully disagree. This is a time where it’s an opportunity to figure out where our values lie, a time and opportunity to figure out what makes us happy and brings us joy. A lot of the individuals that I work with have met the societal checklist of all the things that we’re told will make us happy. They’re not because they haven’t figured out what happiness means to them. You can have all those successful “things,” but you could still be unhappy.
Figuring out what happiness means to you is a great way to start leaning into that. Now specifically at this time, when we have people being at home, spending more time with their families, figuring out where they fit in the world. That activism is not something that we should be leaning into that, but is it something that also brings you happiness and joy? This is a time to lean in and understand who you are and what helps you be happy in your life because it’s not a one-size fits-all formula.
In conjunction with that, this misery that’s going on is not a one-size-fits-all formula either. We need to be able to look at that and understand that it is okay to be happy during this time. You can still be providing for causes. You can still be a support system. Being happy doesn’t mean that you’re above or you’re beyond everyone else. Being happy means that you have a security in who you are and what brings you joy and peace. That allows you to be your best and bring your best self to the relationships, the situations, the workplace, wherever it may be that you are showing up. It allows you to bring your best self and lift everyone else up. That is the beauty of this time.
I feel like we could wrap up this episode now. It’s eloquent. I love the phrase that you used, societal checklist. What does that mean for you? This is a term that you’ve been hearing. I don’t think I’ve been hearing that before.
It’s not a term I’ve heard, but it’s a term I’ve coined.
You should take ownership out of coining that.
Societal checklist, essentially, if we look at these things that society has told us will make us happy and I’m going to say they’ll make us happy. Especially in America where I live, we feel like success equals happiness. This is a checklist of what we have been told. It’s been ingrained in us since childhood, that we should do these things. It will equal success and also known as equal happiness. The first one is you should go to school and get a degree. You should find a great intrinsic partner and spouse. You should probably buy your dream house. You should probably have a family. Get that great job, make a lot of money or have that great career as an entrepreneur, have a successful business.
Once you have that societal checklist, then you’ll be “successful and happy.” What we see is that we strive for this checklist. I’m going to be bold here. We’ve bought into the lie that equals happiness. We strive for that. We push hard for that. We have this mindset of I’ll be happy when. When you hit those checklists and you’re like, “I should be happy now.” You’re not. It feels like, “What’s wrong with me?” This is what’s working for everyone else. I’ve believed this since I was a little kid. I’ve been told this my whole life. If I have all these things, I should be grateful. I should be happy and I’m not. I see other people that seem like they are happy and what’s wrong with me. Maybe I’m broken and maybe I’m hurting. That is the painful truth about the societal checklist is that it doesn’t bring happiness. It shields us from finding out what happiness truly means to us as individuals.
What do you think, Taylor, is the psychological underpinnings of having the societal checklist? It’s something that’s reinforced by our parents or maybe religious figures in our life or society. Underneath it is the desire to check off all of these boxes on that proverbial list. Do you find it’s leaning into a yearning for love and acceptance or security and safety? Psychologically underneath all this, what do you think is going on for people when they’re trying to check off all those boxes?
It is an acceptance and meeting the expectations. Our brain, as you guys know, back in the day, we were wired for protection and we could only protect ourselves if we were part of society and part of a community. Our brains still, even now that we’re not necessarily like, “There’s a tiger coming at us. I have to have my team of hunters around me. We can take down the tiger. We’re safe and we’re protected. Now, we don’t necessarily worry about that so much, but our brain is still wired that way. We’re afraid that we are not going to be a part of society. We feel like we’re going to be outcasted. We can’t have that because in our brain, we’re like, “I can’t have that.” That doesn’t work. We won’t be able to thrive and survive unless society accepts us.
Here’s this checklist that’s right there. It’s like, “If you do these things, you’ll be accepted and then you’ll be happy and you’ll be a part of the team.” There’s that underpinning that, which leans into what you said about that love, that acceptance and meeting those expectations of other people. Also, within that is we want it to be easy. I’m going to say that like we want, we want it to be easy. Here’s this custom-made checklist ready for you. It’ll make you happy. We want to believe that because we want it to be easy. We want to say, “If I do X, Y and Z, then my life will be put together and I will finally feel happy.”This is a time to figure out where our values lie and what makes us happy and brings us joy. Click To Tweet
We want that ease. We’ve been told to believe that. I look at going to college and getting a degree right. Growing up, that was an expectation. There’s this expectation you should go to school, get a degree. If I don’t do that, I’m an outcast in society. There’s that component. I also was told that if you get a degree, then you’re guaranteed a good job. If you’re guaranteed a good job, then you’re guaranteed large amounts of money. You can take care of yourself, take care of your friends, take care of your family, all of these pieces. That comes back to the society piece. It’s easy. All I have to do is go get a degree. The rest of my life falls into place, which is simply not the case, but we’ve all bought into that.
You get fired up about this and I love that. It sounds like you’re passionate about the subject matter. What is it that brought this passion on for you? Is there something that you experienced or you witnessed other people experiencing and struggling with? How did you get into this work?
I got into this work because I realized the societal checklist down the line. I didn’t realize it was something that was contributing to my unhappiness until I took a microscope to it. My own journey is I was unhappy. I was bitter and angry at the world. I was full of this resentment. I could look back at being younger even like high school age. I was happy go lucky, hyper, outgoing and all of these things. As I became an adult, life came and knocked me down as it does for some people. I didn’t know that I was becoming a person that was angry and unhappy. My husband, bless him, had a phrase that was hell hath, no fury like Taylor, mildly inconvenienced.
The thing was it was true like any minor little thing. I would lose my temper at the drop of a hat. I was angry. What it was this piece of entitlement. I felt like I was entitled to be happy and I shouldn’t have to fight for this. I shouldn’t have to work hard for it. I follow the checklist. I had this victim mentality. I had gone from being somebody who is happy, go lucky and had control of their life to get knocked down a little bit. It’s easily falling into this like, “The world should bend for me and it’s not so now I’m angry. When I pulled that back, the story there is my husband. I wish I could say that he told me this once. It was like, “Light bulb moment, we’re changing our life, but it wasn’t.” He told me this a few times over several years and it took repeating it to me several times for me to finally go, “I need to make a change.” What it was is we knew each other when I was young, happy, hyper, outgoing and this vibrant person. We had gotten married after life had kicked me around. He would say to me, “Where did you go? You used to be happy.”
Did he ask you that?
The first four times over a span of many years, but the first four times I was in that victim and entitlement space. I was like, “You don’t know what you’re talking about.” I wanted to blame him. I wanted to put it on him. I didn’t want to face the facts that I was unhappy and angry all the time. The last time he had to say it to me, I was in a space where I could look at it and go, “I feel like I’m at war. I’m constantly trying. Seeing that these people are “Happy.” They’re following this checklist and I’m clawing my way up this checklist and this ladder. I’m unhappy. I feel like I’m at war with myself. I also feel like I’m at war with everyone else. I want to feel peace. I want to be happy. At that point, things started to shift for me because I had taken myself out of the victim and entitlement mentality.
I started googling how to be happy, which is silly, but I did it anyways. I googled how to be happy hoping for an article, a YouTube video, a podcast episode, something to teach me how to be happy. There was some stuff, but it was mostly inspirational, motivational, not like tactical application. I struggled. I went up and down on this teeter totter of this anger and bitterness. On the other side was happiness and fear. I was like, “Who am I if I’m not angry and protecting myself? Who am I if I’m not striving for this big checklist? Who am I if I achieve this checklist and I’m still not happy?” It’s all these pieces of this sphere that would come in and that would make me feel vulnerable. The anger would flare up to protect me.
This is a long journey. The root cause of all of this was that I believed an expectation. I believe two expectations, one the societal checklist and two that happiness is inherent. I looked at everyone else and they were also happy. When I was striving for the checklist, everyone else was hitting their checklist and they were happy and I wasn’t because I believe they were inherently happy, I felt like I was wrong or I was broken. That hit that fear component and then I’d be angry and defensive about it. If I changed the expectation, if I changed that maybe that checklist wasn’t what was going to make me happy. You can still be successful. You can still chase it, but you can’t have it with that mindset of it’s going to make me happy.
If I can change the expectation that happiness, maybe isn’t inherent, maybe it’s something I can work towards, that put it back in my control. When it’s in my control, I can take the action steps to start moving towards that. That’s how I came to the space of we have these expectations. We think they’re going to make us happy or we think should be happy. It’s these expectations that make it feel like it’s outside of our control or make it feel like we have to strive for more. If we can come back, look at it and own it for ourselves, we can take the steps to find what happiness means to us individually.
Expectation is something we wrote about in our newsletter and have been talking about. It’s awesome that you bring up expectations, Taylor. I’m curious if you feel that expectations in general are something that we should practice letting go of, trying to create or manipulate some future projection. Do expectations in your lexicon play any positive role or do you feel like we should practice letting go of all of them?
I love this question. I’ve never been asked it before. I’m one of those people that I love to strive for goals. I believe that a core component of happiness is progression and goals are a great way to get there. If you have an expectation for yourself and you have defined what you want your life and happiness to look like for you, and you have an expectation around that, that’s okay and can be helpful. I do think if you hold onto those expectations too hard with the, “I need to do X, Y, and Z, and then I’ll be happier. I’ll hit my goal or whatever it is without the flexibility of, ‘I have an expectation. This is going to work, but I don’t need to hold onto the timeline. I don’t need to hold on tight to the action items.’”
I’m not saying don’t take action, not that at all. I don’t need to hold on tight to the action items of what I think it should be. Whatever comes up that I need to handle, I can. The expectation then shifts from I know and I expect myself to be happy, live in this world and be the best I can versus the expectation that whatever’s going around us or whatever we’re striving for is going to be the thing that makes us happy and be the best that we can.
It also brought up a side consideration and this is something that I don’t want to say struggling with. I I’m dancing with it is a much more accurate term this relationship between contentment and desire. In the sense of if I get into gratitude and feeling contented about what is happening in my life, the roof over my head, bathing in clean water, having good food every day. There’s a part of me that’s like, “This is enough. This is great.” There’s a part of me that desire for, “I would like to have a farm with more animals. I would like to have a bigger piece of property,” or whatever it is. For me, it’s this internal interesting relationship of contentment and gratitude versus desire and the energy that keeps moving us forward toward those goals. How do you see that relationship? How do you balance those things for yourself?
I love that relationship because it is something that I personally do struggle with. I struggle with it in a couple of components here. I struggle with it when I see other people go, “I should be happy. I should be content. I should be grateful and have gratitude for what I have in my life. That should be enough. What I see happen is that’s great. We totally should. That contentment is awesome. Contentment is a thin line between comfort. When we start to get a little too comfortable, we start to feel stagnant. When we start to feel stagnant, the world feels like it’s passing us by. Going back to your initial question about, “How can I be happy in this world in the space we’re in?”
There’s a lot of stagnation happening. A lot of pumping the brakes, pulling back and being like, “There’s a lot of information, a lot of things. I need to take it all in, which is appropriate.” At the same time, we’ve been staying stagnant for so long and not taking action that it has completely shifted us from a space of progression, which I believe is a core component. Action kills fear. Progression leads to happiness. You have to be moving forward. We’re human beings. We all have that desire for more.
When we lean back into the comfort or the contentment too far. Contentment is the fine line. You want to be content with your life, but it’s okay to strive for more. When we lean back into it too far, we start to feel stagnant. When we, as humans feel stagnant, we start to feel depressed and we lean into habits and things that do not support our life and a life of happiness. It supports a life of stagnation because we feel like that’s comfort. We’re trading comfort and stagnation for everything else.
I do think there’s a duality there where as humans, we believe it’s got to be one or the other. You should be grateful and you should be content and that should be enough. Where it is enough, but that doesn’t mean I can’t want more because I’m a human being and I’m wired to want more. My ability to show up in this life and to provide and have an impact on the world is based on my ability and my desire for more and to provide more to my community.
I’ve been reading the book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck. Jason, I know you’ve read that. Taylor, have you read that book?
I have not. It is on my list.
I’m curious once you do read it, what do you think? I’m about a quarter of the way through and Jason could speak to more of it if he recalls. We referenced this in one episode. For the audience, you can learn more about Taylor, the books that we’re talking about and anything else that we referenced in this episode, you can find that at Wellevatr.com. One of the resources that we’ll list is this book. It seems like the premise is that a lot of us care too much, focusing too much on what we want and putting too much pressure on ourselves.
Going through this societal checklist, as you’ve talked about Taylor, can be bad for our mental health because it causes us to become overly attached. We start chasing a mirage of happiness and satisfaction as Mark Manson says. He concludes that the key to a good life is not caring as much. It’s caring a little bit less and only caring about what is true and immediate and important. Based on that little part of his book, Taylor, have you found that to be true as well? Jason, I would love for you to jump in and anything else you recall from that book too?
For me, I have found that to be true. I have found as well that we do care way too much what other people think. We chase things. It goes back to what I was saying on the expectation. My brain is wired to want to be accepted in society. We’re hardwired to care. We start chasing things because it means status or we start chasing things because then our parents will love us. We start chasing things because it means that our neighbor will see how much better we are or whatever that may be. That’s when we care way too much. We shift from progression, goals and becoming our best selves to someone who’s fighting the fight. If we look back at my own story of feeling like I was at war, you’re at war when you do that. You’re at war with everyone else and trying to prove yourself versus feeling peace in your own space. That’s my opinion at least.
I found that to be true as well. The reason that I started reading this book, which I was familiar with this book so much so that I thought that I had read it already. I picked it up and realized, “I’ve never read a page of this book.” It was suggested to me because of something that I hadn’t talked to Jason about. He was on his little mini vacation when this happened. We got a critical, mean or rude comment on our podcast. It was the first negative review that we’ve ever received on iTunes. It was like this person was saying they didn’t like us. They didn’t like our personality, me and Jason.
When I first read it, it stung. It hurt to read those because it wasn’t like it was constructive criticism. There’s a lot of things people could say like, “Their episodes are too long.” Even though we liked doing long episodes, we certainly could do some short episodes every now and then. When it comes to feedback, there’s a lot of things that we can learn from other people’s feedback for us. Criticism isn’t always a bad thing. It doesn’t always mean you’re being rejected. In this case, this review was saying that this person didn’t like us. I’m reading that thinking that hurts. It hurts when someone’s like, “I don’t like you. There’s nothing you can do about it.”Being happy means that you have security in who you are and what brings you joy and peace. Click To Tweet
It’s not like we’re going to change our personalities. We can’t do too much or we could try. I probably still do this at times, but in my past, I would try to change things about myself if somebody said they didn’t like them. I’ve struggled with that a lot over the years as a content creator. I decided that the way I could work through my emotions around reading this review is to go ask how other people handle negative reviews about their podcasts. I went into one of the podcast groups that I’m in on Facebook and got vulnerable. I was like, “I received a negative comment. It was hurtful. What do you do when you feel hurt?”
I received amazing responses from other podcasters so much so that I’m planning on writing a blog post summarizing all the great advice that people shared. Probably the best piece of advice I was given was to read this book, The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck, because that’s one of the big messages there is not caring as much about these types of things. I’m curious too, since Jason hasn’t read this comment yet, I’m curious what he would think. It’s not that bad. I have a feeling Jason would be like, “I don’t give a fuck. That’s his reaction.” I’m predicting.
I would love to hear from both of you. How do you react to criticism and going back to what you’re saying, Taylor, about how it’s ingrained in us because we often care about what people think as this old form of survival? We want to be part of the group. We don’t want to be the outcast. When somebody says something mean to us, I feel like maybe our chameleon brains, as some people refer to them. Is that right term? It’s reptile not chameleon. It is funny. Chameleon is about changing.
It’s like the old part of us wants to say, “I can change because I want to be accepted badly so that I survive.” Yet if you’re constantly trying to be a chameleon, if you’re always trying to change and adapt to your situation, it can be detrimental to your mental health. I’d love to hear from both of you about what you do in these cases and what you’ve learned from these types of scenarios where you get criticism that hurts.
For me, Whit, it’s something that I’ve continually had to practice ever since becoming more prominent or visible through social media, the TV series and the things that certainly you and I have experienced being content creators and hosting our own videos, shows and whatnot. If I zoom back and look at the comments, input and feedback that I’ve received over the years, it’s been overwhelmingly positive or even maybe headed toward neutral. The ratio of good, positive, uplifting, supportive comments versus negative ones or ones that don’t provide any useful or critical feedback, that ratio is skewed heavily toward the positive and the beneficial. Those moments though that we get comments like this, I’ve had to realize that it’s not my job to please everyone and nor can I, and nor will I ever.
Opinions are like buttholes. Everyone’s got one and that’s okay because someone’s opinion is different and they don’t find something about me appealing. I’ve had many similar comments on YouTube and when I was on Cooking Channel and even reviews on Amazon about my book. We’re not going to please everyone. When I’m creating art or creating content, or as we’re doing this show, I realized that there are going to be some people that simply don’t like it. Your expectation, Whitney, that I would probably read this comment and not give a fuck is probably accurate.
When you read this book, we’re you like, “I already do this,” or do you think you were influenced by this book and other things like? How did you learn not to give a fuck, Jason?
I want to say I’m by no means an avatar or a bodhisattva in the sense that things don’t get to me, things get to me. In terms of a public forum like this, where we’re receiving feedback and comments with our brands, our public personas, the teachings and the content we do, Mark Manson’s work has helped. I admire him as a writer. I love his perspective, his tone and the voice that he uses. It’s open, direct, conversational where I feel like he’s talking to me and I like that.
He definitely has reframed things in terms of going back to what Taylor was talking about with his checklist. For me, for a long time, it was if I get this TV show, become a celebrity chef and nutrition expert. I’m on these magazine covers. I’m making multiple six figures. I have this girlfriend. I live in this zip code and all the BS that Taylor was describing, he talks about that in his book. He brings up specific artists that I admire and have listened to musical artists and whatnot.
How they had a similar experience of getting through all the checklists and then realizing that in one case they were miserable. In the other case, their dreams didn’t come true and they found happiness and contentment in spite of their dreams not coming true. For me, I guess the long answer Whitney is having this perspective of, “I feel like I can put my desires and my wants out in the universe, but there’s no guarantee they’re going to come to fruition.”
Going back to the expectation conversation, it’s like, “If exactly what I want doesn’t happen, can I find happiness and fulfillment even when my expectations and more than expectations, my demands of life. One thing that I’ve had to work on over the years is I was in the mode many years of demanding things of life. Talk about privilege like, “You owe me this. I’ve worked hard. I’ve put the years in. I’ve put the money in. I’ve hired the coaches. I’ve done the seminars. I’ve bled for this. You owe me.” I realized that looking at life, God, universe, and saying you owe me is not a good approach to living.
On that note, Taylor, A, I would love to hear your thoughts on this. B, we talked about it on an episode how we have mixed feelings about the practice of manifestation, visualization and things like this. There’s a side of both me and Jason that has used that, has felt that it’s worked for us, has seen a lot of positive momentum. If I focus on something that I want badly enough, it’ll happen. There’s also a side of it that A, might be to do with privilege and then B comes back around to Jason’s point about demanding things like who are we to believe that because we want something, we deserve it. What have you found in your studying and teaching on happiness that is related to manifestation and visualization?
I love this question too. My first steps into my personal development journey was I attended a conference and the person started teaching vision boards. If you could see my body language at that time, I leaned down in my seat. I was like, “Here we go. Another person who says put it on the wall and wish it into being.” I’m not about that. I’m a worker. I like action. I like progress. I like moving forward. I feel putting something up on the wall and wishing for it is not the way to go to about it. That’s how I feel about vision boards.
However, I have found that vision boards do work when you connect them with action. Not the action of I put it on the wall, not the action of, “I look at it every day,” but the action of, “I’m sitting here. I’m looking at one of my things. I’m thinking about it. I’m saying it out loud. I’m telling myself a story.” All the things to help it go through your reticular activating system so that you can be more likely to look for opportunities. Also having a piece of paper next to me and saying, “What actions do I need to take to be able to get what I want?”
That also partners quite well with this demanding because if we’re demanding it happen and we’re putting up in wishing on the wall that is demanding. That is the sense of entitlement that’s not great. If you’re taking action and you’re asking, “What is it that I need to do here to help me?” I’m not going to even say, “Get my goal to help me progress in the right direction towards what I want.” That takes off the expectation of if I don’t get it, I’m a failure, but it does add the accountability of, I can take action towards this every day and I can learn and I can grow. There’s a higher likelihood that that is going to happen for me because I’m taking action towards it.
How do we rewire ourselves to enjoy the journey and not be fixated on that goal and that destination you’re talking about? I feel like this is endemic to humans in general of once I get the things, I’ll be happy. It doesn’t guarantee I’ll be happy, but the fixation on the goal and not the enjoyment and the growth that comes with the journey. How do we recalibrate ourselves to enjoy the journey and not be myopically fixated on the goal and only that?
This is going to tie into the original question as well of how I personally deal with rejection or negative commentary. They’re both closely correlated. I use what I call a success book. I put in it any successes that I have. It could be that I got a goal and it’s great. I celebrate that and I have it recorded. When I’m having a bad day and I feel like I’m a worthless piece of shit, I can pull up that book and go, “I’m a badass. I get stuff done.” There’s that component of when you hear negative commentary or you’re like, “People don’t like me.”
I go back to my book and I’m like, “Yeah, people do.” I do great things. Here’s all the Thank You cards I’ve received or here’s printouts of my positive reviews on my show. I have a record of that because we’re high likely to forget the positive things and remember the negative. In conjunction with that, a shift in our mindset of the goal is not the success, but your ability to learn and grow every day is. If you can track those “successes,” those achievements, whatever you want to call them, if you can take those and track those every day, it’s not so much about the goal. It’s what you’ve learned and how you grew to get there.
That is a big shift for a lot of people, but it’s as simple as tracking that every day of what was the success now? Maybe I didn’t hit goal X, Y, and Z, but I did step one. That’s a big thing. All three of us are podcasters here. I know many people are like, “I want a podcast.” It feels far away for them. They take ten steps. We know it can be complicated like, “How do we work the system? What microphone do I get? How do I set up my studio? It can be quite a few things. They slowly work for that process. They’re like, “I’m not happy or I’m not there yet. I haven’t launched yet.” They beat themselves up.
If you can take a shift and look at that and go, “I set up my studio and then the next day, I researched microphones. I learned and I grew.” That shift is what can help us still achieve and have that desire for more, we can go for that without beating ourselves up in the process, without feeling like we’re failures and without the expectation that thing is going to make us happy. I would also tie into that. I’m going to change gears a little bit, but tracking your successes daily is part of what I call a happiness habits. When you do those things every day and they’re not with an expectation of connection to goals or connection to business or connection to any of these things, and they’re things that you can do habitually to help you be happier. That helps a lot as well. Writing your daily successes or keeping us a success book is one of those habits.
This is a macro level question. It goes back to even deeper than the original question of how do we find happiness and fulfillment during this time when many people are saying that we ought not to or we don’t deserve it. That unhappiness, sadness, depression, anxiety, mental health issues, these are things that are incredibly rampant not here in America but worldwide if we look at what’s going on with people’s mental health and emotional wellness. For a person who say, doesn’t know what makes them happy, or doesn’t have necessarily a dream or a goal they’re working toward. This might be a very fundamental one-on-one question.
I also think it’s very profound because if we look around this world, there’s a lot of people in this mentality of when you sit down and say like, “What’s your dream or what are you working toward or what do you want to be doing? Who do you want to be? They don’t have an answer. From a foundational level, how do we cultivate a sense of our own happiness when A, maybe it’s something we’ve never been taught. B, we’ve never taken the time to reflect on it or meditate on it. If people are speaking lost in the woods and don’t know where to find it, what are some basic steps to recommend to people that don’t know what that is?
You’re spot on. It’s a rough time in the world. Even pre-2020 and in the space we’re in now, those things you mentioned about the depression, the anxiety, the feeling like I don’t know what my purpose is, or I don’t know what makes me happy, that was rampant even then. You’ll notice as we continue to talk and get to know each other more, I’m formulaic, which is ironic. I’m like, “Don’t follow the checklist, but a formula can sometimes help.”
What I like to do is look at a couple of things. One, because somebody else has it figured out or they know their purpose, A, it doesn’t mean that it’s not going to change. B, it doesn’t mean that you’re a mess up if you don’t have that. There’s a lot of this, like, “What do you want to be? What’s your purpose? Figure that out and find it. People are like, “I don’t even know who I am. I’m so stressed all the time that I can’t even focus on that.” They do focus on it. They contribute to that depression and that sadness even more.Contentment is the very thin line between getting comfortable and feeling stagnant. Click To Tweet
B, how are we expected to figure out what makes us happy or figure out what our purpose is or any of these components if we don’t know who we are first? Going back to this formulaic idea, I have a concept that I like to lean into, which is your identity plus your vision plus your mindset plus leadership equals achievement, progression and happiness. The thought there being that you can’t have a vision, which is the second piece, for what you want if you don’t know who you are.
There’s a lot of deep things that you can figure out. As silly as it sounds, I lean into like personality quizzes, find out your Myers-Briggs, find out your Enneagram, find out your Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin, find your love language, find these pieces that can help you go, “This is how I function in the world.” When you can have an idea of your templates and how you function in the world, then you can stop looking at everyone else and go, I don’t mean this as a judgment, “You’re a Slytherin. I’m a Gryffindor. That’s why we don’t see eye to eye.” The thing is you can find those things that help you go, “Is this how I see the world?”
I’m not saying, treat it like a horoscope and be like, “This is who I am now. I can’t accept anything else.” I am saying, treat it like, “Is this true? Is this something that I’ve learned about myself?” If so, do I want to be this way? If it’s something that’s not changeable, how can I leverage it to my advantage instead of trying to work around it or push through it because everybody else thinks differently. I’m going to use a personal example here. My Enneagram barely found out about Enneagram’s not a huge expert by any means, but I have often felt like there’s people that I don’t get. I’m like, “I don’t understand that mentality or I don’t understand that type of behavior. It doesn’t click for me.”
In the past, I would be like, “I got to fix myself,” Whitney, what you were saying, “I’ve got to change this” to try and be able to understand that or connect with that person or be liked by that person. In knowing my identity and those components be like, “I’m in Enneagram 8. There’s no way I’m going to think like that person. I’m sure they don’t have these similar traits that I do.” That’s okay. It’s not an us versus them. I do not want to go there because that’s more anger, bitterness, depression, sadness, and all of that.
It’s more of a, “This is who I am. This is my templates. This is how I function in the world” and then leaning on that to help you figure out those next steps. That would be in the formulas case, the vision. That’s answering you, Jason, in the sense of who am I, that’s identity, but then what is my purpose? What do I want to do? We’re asked what do you want to be when you grow up our whole lives? The thing is there’s nobody ever focuses on who are you, what do you love and what makes you happy?
Having an understanding of who you are in the world, not even in the world, who you are to yourself and looking at that with a positive spin and being like, “This is me. I’m not like that person. They’re okay. That’s great. I’m not like that person. I love myself anyways. It’s fine.” Having that identity is a crucial point to be able to move to that next step of the formula of the vision. I hope that answered it. I feel like I rambled a little bit there, but hopefully that made sense.
One question leads to more questions and more questions. For both of you, doing the work and we all have different modalities, books, quizzes, coaches and seminars. It’s clear that the three of us are committed and passionate about doing the work for ourselves, on ourselves. Sometimes though I have a thing that comes up for me. I’m curious for both of you, how this feels of there are many layers of conditioning, belief systems, self-criticism and old stuff that is installed so deep in my subconscious, my psyche. At times I’m like, “How many layers do I have to go through and decondition to get to the core of who I am? There are moments where it’s passionate, exciting, but there’s like, “My God, there’s so much work decondition myself, break through those limiting beliefs and break through the old conditioning from childhood” or maybe even before that, depending on what you believe. How do you both deal with that? Does that even come up for either of you like, “Here’s another layer, how many layers are there?”
We’ve established in some of our episodes. One of them that comes to mind is the one with Luke Storey. If you’re interested in going down the rabbit hole of our almost 100 episodes now, we did this episode with Luke Storey. When we were talking with him, one of my favorite parts was when the three of us were sharing how this idea of health and wellness can be this never-ending journey because there’s always something new to discover. There are many developments. There are new products coming out. There are new techniques. There are many books and all three of us related to one another in that feeling of it’s fun.
I don’t see it as a destination. I see it as that journey. I feel a lot of joy learning more about myself, humanity, psychology and trying new things. The experiment is fun for me. I also realize it’s not fun for everybody. A lot of people are in resistance to it. It might be exhausting for them to continuously be trying things and tweaking things. This reminds me of something my friend was sharing with me about her son. She has been paying attention during this time of quarantine where he’s at home. She’s thinking about his education, his development as a child and the next steps. It’s such an intense time for parents. A lot of decisions have to be made during this period of massive uncertainty where nobody knows what’s going to happen.
She discovered that he loves fixing things. He is a kid that gets excited about getting a hammer and nail and repairing something or building something, that lights him up. He’ll dive into that challenge and he’ll be very motivated. When it came to some other things and specifically like school, she was noticing like certain subjects, he has so much resistance to. He did not enjoy doing those things. I was sitting there thinking, as I was listening to her, “It’s such a shame in a way that a lot of us go through life feeling like we’re forced.” In some ways, almost being forced. If we look at the school systems in general, at least in the United States, in most schools. We are forced to study certain topics, memorize things and do things in school that we don’t want to do.
The combination of the pressure from our teachers, our classmates, our parents or our parental figures and these ideas of like, “If we don’t get the good grades, then we’re going to be punished either now or in the future. We won’t be able to get into the school that we want. We might not get the career that we want.” There’s so much at stake all the time. Speaking of trying to shape yourself into something, I know I struggle with this a lot. My heart goes out to kids as well as adults, who feel like they have to force themselves into doing something in order to get the results that they want.
That ties back into this idea, Jason, of like, “Do you enjoy studying these things like the three of us do?” I love reading. I read every single day. I’m into books. I’m constantly reading them. Jason, you love books. Yet you read at a different pace than I do. You don’t seem to have as much joy and interest in reading as frequently and as much as I do. That doesn’t mean that you don’t enjoy it. You’re going back to what Taylor was saying. You approach it differently. This is a big topic that I’m excited to address and hear what Taylor has to say about. It does come back to this like, “Are you forcing yourself to do something A, because other people are doing it or B, because you feel like you have to do it to get a result.” If you can step back and ask yourself, does this process bring you joy? If it doesn’t then why would you even bother doing it if life is more about the journey than the destination?
You put it eloquently. I don’t know how much more I could add to that. I completely agree. I feel like it goes back to those expectations. Jason, what you were saying about there’s layer after layer, Whitney, you hit it right on the head. You have to enjoy that process. Look at it as it’s a present, I get to uncover one more thing about me and adjust for it. I’m not even going to say solve for it. We should not be in personal development, self-help. My brain’s like I don’t think we should call it self-help anymore because self-help almost feels like it needs to be fixed. Personal development means it’s an ongoing process. You’re developing as a person. That mindset shift is a big key component there.
That’s another thing that I love so far in The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck is that Mark Manson says that part of the problem is that we’re constantly trying to change ourselves, which means that there’s something wrong with us. The idea of fixing something or tweaking something to saying that we’re not good enough as we are. He said that’s a huge issue in the personal development space. Even that phrase, that term personal development, I see it as a positive thing. It’s like, “I like to develop.” I’ve spent a lot of my life not feeling good enough. This is something I’m as on my journey of self-discovery, which maybe is a better word than self-help, it’s a discovery process. I wonder sometimes do I enjoy doing this? I enjoy the process of changing because change means that maybe I’ll be more accepted. It’s interesting because I do find joy in it, but sometimes you have to examine like, “Why do you find joy in something? Where did that joy come from? Did you like program yourself to feel joy?”
It’s such a fine balance though. It is such a tender line between are you doing this? It brings you joy and happiness. It’s something that helps you become a better person and step into your space to make an impact in the world or are you doing it because you feel you should? There’s also this component of sometimes for us to progress forward, we have to do the uncomfortable stuff. If we’re peeling back a layer and it’s like, “I don’t want to have to deal with this. This is hard.” We have to look at our reason why. Are we doing this because we feel like we need to be fixed? At that point, it is going to be hard.
If you’re doing it because you want to learn, grow and be your best version of yourself, then maybe you do have to do some hard work to feel like you can achieve what you’re wanting to achieve. It’s such a fine line because that can easily be construed to the other way of like, “If it’s something you dislike doing or it’s hard, you shouldn’t ever do it.” At that point, I don’t want to ever do taxes. This is a perfectly good example, a good analogy. I don’t like cleaning my house, but I feel ten times better. I’m more mentally, physically and emotionally clear when my house is clean. There’s that line. If I don’t like cleaning my house, I can never clean my house and then it would be a dust pile. That environment would impact my ability to show up as my best self. It’s that fine balance. That comes down to the individual and figuring out what that balance is for them as a person.
This brings up a couple of things. You brought up a phenomenal example, Taylor, of cleaning the house for me, it’s like working out. To be brutally honest with myself, get vulnerable, I don’t like working out. I’ve been doing it for many years in many different ways. It’s rare that I will do a workout where I’m like, “I like this.” Most of the time, grunting, moving, sweating, pumping iron, moving, there’s a part of me that’s like, “I do not like this.” I get bored, but I know that my mental, physical health and my emotional state after the workout is the payoff. I know that my frame around it is like, “I’m going to do this thing that I know inherently I don’t enjoy. I’ve tried to enjoy it. I’m going to acknowledge that I don’t enjoy it.
Knowing that my investment in this is going to result in me feeling the hormones, the euphoria and all the great feelings mentally and physically afterward. It depends. There are a million analogies. Saving money or delaying our gratification to put in an IRA or an investment account. It’s like, “I’m not going to buy that crazy car. I’m going to delay it so that I can put money in toward my investment.” There are a million analogies we could use. To me, it brings up the phrases is delayed happiness. Not in the sense that we’re depriving ourselves.
Maybe we’re doing uncomfortable things. We know that by doing the uncomfortable things or the things we don’t necessarily like so much are going to result in something wonderful for us. That’s something that people need to practice. If people hear happiness, maybe they would think, “If I’m going to do happiness, I’m only going to do things that make me happy.” I don’t know if that’s necessarily an approach to life because there are times we need to do uncomfortable things or things that push us or crack us open or challenge us. I don’t know if we would classify those moments as happiness necessarily.
Going back to that concept of happiness habits, there are habits that we could put into place that if we did them every day would greatly impact and improve our happiness. That doesn’t mean that it’s comfortable. Working out is not comfortable. The whole concept of working out is not comfortable. Nobody says, “I’m comfortable at the gym.” If they’re saying that, they’re sitting there watching other people workout. I’m lifting my 2-pound weight. If you’re comfortable with working out, you’re not pushing yourself in the working out part. There’s that component, but happiness habits. There’s a phrase that I love.
Granted, this is my personality. I know my identity. I know who I am and my templates in the world. This is how I thrive. This could be different for everyone else, which leads back to why it’s important to know how you function in the world. What motivates you or how you can shift a perspective of something to help you get to where you need to go. For me, my favorite phrase, I have two, but one of my favorite phrases is discipline is freedom. That for me is everything. If I can be disciplined in my budgeting, down the road, I have freedom.
If I can be disciplined in my working out, down the road, I have physical freedom. If I can be disciplined in cleaning my house down the road, I have a nice clean house that when somebody comes up to my door unexpectedly, I’m not going, “Clean, put everything under the couches and then the closets.” It’s like, “Great. Come on in.” That’s like a silly example, but for me and my personality type, happiness habits and the discipline in doing them and discipline feels like a harsh word. If we can take away the normal connotation of like what discipline means traditionally. Look at it as, this is an opportunity for me to set myself up for success. That is a bigger reason over the reason of, “I don’t want to do this. I’m not comfortable.”
That’s my two cents on it. This is a side note, but I don’t know if you have heard of the challenge 75 HARD. It’s this challenge by Andy Frisella. It’s a free challenge. For 75 days in a row, and then there’s three additional phases to equal an entirety of a year. For 75 days in a row, you work out outside for 45 minutes. You work out inside for 45 minutes. You maintain a meal plan without alcohol. You drink a gallon of water. You read ten pages of a personal development or business book. You take a progress picture every day. You have to do every single one of those every day for 75 days in a row.
If you miss on one of them, you have to start all of them all back on day one. It is about this concept of discipline equaling freedom, because I’m somebody who’s done that. I love that stuff. How can I grow and push myself and have these habits that helped me feel it’s not about necessarily pushing, but there’s these things that I know will help me be happier, the delayed happiness and the working out for a total of 1.5 hours every day, it sucked?Action kills fear. Progression leads to happiness. Click To Tweet
Not eating birthday cake, it sucked, but I had committed. There’s this concept here too where when you commit to something for many of us, we’re like, “Yeah.” I’m going to use eating as a diet type of thing. It’s relatable for all of us. How many times we’ve been like, “I’m going to cut out sugars.” You tell yourself you’re going to cut out sugars. Birthday party rolls around and you’re like, “That cake looks good. I know I wasn’t going to eat sugars, but what is it? It’s Friday. I could start no sugar on Monday.”
Monday rolls around and your kid comes in with a candy bar and it’s like, “Do you want a bite?” You’re like, “You’re such a good sharer. I’ll have a bite.” You’re like, “I ate a bite. I’ll try again tomorrow.” It’s good that we’re resilient and trying again. The thing is that every time we commit to ourselves that we are going to do something. We don’t do it because an excuse or it’s uncomfortable. At the birthday party, it can be uncomfortable to say, “I’m not eating refined sugar.” People be like, “You’re weird.”
When every time that we say we’re going to do something and we commit to ourselves to do it and we don’t, the evidence side of our brain for negative stuff piles up. It says, “We don’t keep our word. We can’t trust ourselves.” If we’re talking about like depression, anxiety and things like that, there’s a whole library of things where we feel like we can’t trust ourselves. We don’t know who we are because who we are as the person who committed to something and then turned away from it. Your brain builds that evidence on the negative side.
Every time you commit to something, you do it and you have that “discipline,” you’re building positive stuff on the side of your brain. You’re starting to feel like, “I’m capable of this.” You have listened to my show. My tagline is you are capable of happiness about it. It is that way specifically because for so many of us, we don’t even feel like we’re capable of happiness or we’re capable of losing the weight or we’re capable of getting the raise or whatever that may be. There’s this deep belief that we may not be capable.
The way to feel capable is to start taking action and building that positive evidence in our brains. When you feel capable, you start to feel qualified. When we start to feel qualified, then you feel qualified. You start to feel confident. Once you hit confidence, there’s no stopping you. That’s an ongoing process. Cycling all the way back to this, there’s definitely freedom in having discipline and making those choices for your best self in the future while also appreciating and enjoying the successes now.
Taylor, thank you for that. What comes up for me? I still am challenged by holding myself accountable. If I don’t tell someone else or say enroll an accountability partner or have somebody, I don’t necessarily need somebody to do the same thing with me. You did 75 HARD, Andy Frisella’s challenge. Did you have an accountability partner or someone cheerleading you on holding you accountable? In general, when you’re going toward new goals, big goals, things you feel challenged by, how do you navigate holding yourself accountable? Do you bring a person into to help you with that?
I had mentioned in the identity component talking about Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies framework.
I’m excited you brought this up because I’m obsessed with The Four Tendencies. There was a moment where it was like, I want to ask Taylor what her tendency is, but if she hasn’t taken it, then I’ll be awkward. What’s your tendency? I bet you could guess it based off our discussion so far. You sound a lot like me in a lot of ways. I immediately was like, “I bet you were the same tendency.” I’m a questioner. That’s what I would guess you are.
I’m an upholder. How there’s like the Venn Diagram so it’s like the upholder can lean towards questioner or obliger tendencies. My analytic mind and like this, “Here’s a framework. Let’s piece this together.” My strategic mind is very questioner. In terms of the obliger piece, I do well when people know what’s going on. I also, as a true upholder, I’m okay committing to myself that I’ll do it. 75 HARD as an example this is the perfect segue way.
I planned my completion of 75 HARD a month before I started it. I know many people that are like, “I’m going to do that.” They’re like, “Start in three days.” I’m like, “No. I want you to be successful. Take a minute because it’s 75 days of eating like a meal plan.” You have to figure out, is there an area for loopholes. If I’m at a birthday party, do I not have the cake? The 4th of July is coming up, whatever that may be. You have to figure it out. I was a full month of being like, “How do I function?” My brain goes, “I do well with structure.” I’m not going to stick to a diet per se. I know people who’ve completed it. They were like, “I was vegan.”
They also put loophole like I’m vegan. I think Oreos are vegan. I’m vegan and I can eat Oreos as my desserts if I want, if they’re available. For me, I’m like, “I can’t do that because if I do something like Keto, I’d be like, “Is corn keto? I don’t know.” The more I have to think about it and the more I have to like research or worry about it, the less likely I am to succeed. I know that about myself. I took a month going, “What can I eat for 75 days straight that I won’t get sick of, that’s going to be, and it’s going to help me have the mental and emotional clarity that I want.”
That’s a great tactic. It’s interesting because I wonder if some people would find resistance with the planning because I get excited about planning. I’m like you where I love structuring things looking ahead, but I’ve noticed that a lot of people don’t enjoy that and that becomes a place of resistance for them. What do they do in that case?
That is an incredibly interesting piece of information there because the resistance to planning is a fear of failure. If I planned it and I took the time, I took a month, not saying everybody has to take a month, I went over the top, but let’s say two weeks. I took two weeks to plan how I was going to be successful at this. If I didn’t succeed, I would feel like I wasted not only that whole time, but also the two weeks. I’m afraid I’m going to fail, so I’m not going to plan it. When I do fail, I can go, “I didn’t even plan it so it wasn’t that important to me. No big deal.”
This is interesting too because I looked up some information about the obliger. Before I get into this, can you guess what Jason’s tendency is, Taylor?
I would think obliger because of the accountability piece. What are you? Are you an upholder with the obliger tendencies?
No, I am definitely in the rebel category. It’s an interesting thing because I’ve noticed that my entire life, as young as I can remember, confirming with my mom, I have had, first of all, a healthy disrespect for authority in general, which has been an interesting part of the journey. Beyond that, I’ve always been very good at improvisation and not comedy, although I did study that. Being able to make things up on the spot, feeling very confident going with the flow, feeling very confident whatever I make up in the moment is going to be great.
There are things like finances and meal planning. There’s a lot of things in life that one could improvise, but I’ve had to work on structure planning consistency because I thrive so much in the improvisational space. There are things in life that are not necessarily skewed toward being optimal if you’re making it up on the fly. That’s been my challenge in life is as a natural rebellious person who makes things up, how do I be more systematic? That’s been a huge learning process for me.
My clients that I work with, this is one of the things I have them do is I’m like, “What is your learning style?” What is your tendency? Take these quizzes. This person is a rebel. Not saying I coach on 75 HARD because I don’t. I teach happiness. If you want to do 75 HARD, I would say, “Let’s take a week and I want you to plan out yourself with options.” We’re having a meal plan. I want you to have three meal plans you can choose between. You’re having a workout. No, I want you to have five workouts you can choose between. Every day you can still have that structure and that consistency, but you have the choice because rebels don’t like the confines or they don’t like feeling like they’re controlled.
You can control and set yourself up systematically for that tendency, which is why it’s important to know your functions and templates in the world. You can now set yourself up for success going, “Yeah, I’m a rebel.” This isn’t going to work for me with this one option. I’m going to get my I’m going to give myself three and every day I can pick between that. I could shift halfway through in the middle and improv and be like I said, “I was going to run.” One of my other options is yoga. I’ve ran for twenty minutes and I’m tired of running and this sucks. Maybe I’ll the shift to yoga.” You’ re in control there, but you’re still setting yourself up for structurally success.
I already feel better. Even you like outlining that. I was like, “Options. Yes.”
At least to my understanding of The Four Tendencies, rebels is not about you despise authority. It’s not even a fear. You naturally don’t like to be controlled. The hard part is for some rebels, even you don’t like your situation be controlled by yourself. If you feel like this is another thing with the world, this is the single path of success. You have to keep on doing this. Otherwise, you’re going to be a failure or you’re not going to be happier, whatever it is. If we’re taught and told that there’s one way, which we have been societal checklist, for a lot of us, A, that’s not true. There’s not one way, but for rebels, particularly, that can be hard because you’re ingrained in your brain. There’s only one way, but you need options. You need multiple ways for you to be successful.
Understanding that about yourself is everything and understanding we’re talking happiness habits. I’m going to use the example the clients I work with. If I’m working with rebels, it’s not, here’s your one action item. It’s, here’s your three action items to choose between. Let me know every day or let me know at the end of the week. There’s no pressure of like you have to let me know and do this one way. I know that won’t work for rebels and they need to be set up for success.
Questioners, I explained things in super detail and answer all their questions and have no problem explaining the science behind it, or the reason why we’re doing this, the mindset, all these components, because they need all those questions answered. If you don’t have those answered, you’re not going to do it because it doesn’t have enough justification for you. If you look at obligers, I definitely want to provide options and all the things. It can be as simple as, “Do this. Let me know how it goes.” Something as simple as let me know, now they are like, “I need to let you know.” This is going to help me and they have that accountability component to help them progress in their lives. Upholders it’s pretty much, “Do this,” and then they do it. I can fit that because I am one. One of my downsides as an upholder is I accept rules blindly. One of the things I love about me having a questioner mentality in some components is that I can be like, “What’s happening here?” Jason, I feel you like. Give yourself options. Give yourself the opportunity to have that structure. Knowing that you can pivot at any point in time and you have to choose between.
I’m glad that you reinforced that, Taylor. For me, the one area that’s been challenging has been with career choices in the sense that when I was younger, I’ve had a lot of jobs. I’ve already had two careers in my life. I’m already at a third pivot point where I’m re-imagining and re-landscaping what I’m doing. There’s been feelings of, I don’t know about shame, but I don’t know. Maybe shame and guilt sometimes for me. It’s the same thing you said. You had to pick one thing. All your heroes, they picked one thing and did it and did it well. Here you are like in the third act of your life picking a new direction. The way you’re phrasing it makes sense because it resonates with my personalities.The resistance to planning is a fear of failure. Click To Tweet
I’ll fixate on something. I’ll get deep into it. Whether it’s career related or even if it’s a hobby or a passion and I will devour it. I’m like, “I’m done now.” People like, “You can’t be done. This is your career. This is your thing. You’re invested in this. This is what we’re real. I’m like, “No, I’m done.” It’s interesting to acknowledge when I’m honestly done with things and ready for something new and not resisting that or making myself feel guilty or shameful for it.
There’s also this concept. I have a book a personal development book club. In it, we are reading Marie Forleo’s Everything is Figureoutable. I read her talk about being a multi-passionate entrepreneur. Opening up the door for her, not feeling like a failure and feeling like she could step into the things that she enjoyed doing because it meant she was multi-passionate. The thing is all the stuff that you have learned in those career choices have shaped the career choices and who you are now. I look back at my own life.
My first job was like doing silk screening and printing, but then I got into radio. I became a wedding planner, ran my own business. If I look at it, radio gave me the opportunity and ability to communicate very well. I became a wedding planner. You have to communicate very well, but also that pulled in project management and a whole bunch of other things. I decided I didn’t want to be a wedding planner anymore. We had moved and it’s starting over. I’m like, “What’s my favorite thing about being a wedding planner?” It was the marketing. I got a job in marketing.
Everything I’ve learned in marketing, pulling from radio and project development and being a business owner and all those pieces have played into being a happiness mentor now. They’re all skills and things that like are completely disconnected. As a multi-passionate entrepreneur, I can pull them all together and to have a unique business that is ideal for me to run at an optimal and top level to help as many people as possible.
It gets me thinking like how to create this unique amalgam, as you said, of your experiences, your life lessons and what you’ve studied. Ultimately though passion to me is the anchor of that, it’s what makes our heart sing? What brings us a deep level of joy? At the beginning, there’s been this idea of like pick your word for the year. Funnily enough, with the backdrop of everything going on, my word for the year for 2020 is joy because I realized that for a long time, I was operating in service of bringing others joy and focusing on that and reducing their suffering. I was not focusing on my own joy in being of service to others. I remember around the fall of 2019, I caught myself. I had this a-ha moment. I was with my mentor, Michael. It was like, “I’ve been so focused externally on bringing joy and reducing the suffering of others that I lost the plot a little bit and stop focusing on what brings me joy and what I’m passionate about.”
It’s interesting that you bring up that desire to reduce the suffering of others, which has been a huge thing for us, both personally and professionally. We might’ve even put it in our bio or our website description or something. As I’ve been reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, Mark Manson talks about how suffering is important. This is something that I’ve been paying a lot attention to. It keeps coming up in books that I’m reading or practices that I’m doing. It’s a bit of a Buddhist philosophy as well.
Instead of trying to reduce or stop suffering, it’s more like allowing yourself to sit with it and not run away with it and let it pass when it passes. I’ve been reflecting on how both you and I, Jason, and maybe Taylor too, this desire, how can I help people feel happier? Many people want to be happy. Taylor, I’m super curious about how these plays into your career too is that maybe the mission isn’t about reducing suffering. It’s allowing ourselves to feel suffering as well as the joy because we need both. That’s the section that I’m on in the book is how like pain is important.
It’s like Taylor was talking about in terms of working out. Maybe pain isn’t the best word. I don’t think that you want to feel pain. There’s a difference between something feeling hard versus painful because sometimes when you’re working out pain is an indication you shouldn’t be doing something. Your body’s trying to give you a signal. It’s okay to struggle when you’re working out because if you allow yourself to struggle versus trying to run away from that and like finding that pleasure, if you allow yourself to feel some of that “pain” while working out, that’s where you grow, that’s where you get stronger. I’ve been thinking a lot about that in terms of rephrasing things and not making it about avoiding suffering, but allowing suffering as well as the joy.
I love that so much because I completely agree. There’s a set of emotions that we have because here’s the thing. If you look at the term of suffering, it’s attached to emotion. We don’t look at suffering, let’s say quarantine happening right now. There’s a lot of people suffering, but the suffer is attached to the emotion of they’re feeling lonely, isolated, sad, depressed and anxious. They’re all feeling these feelings that are connected to struggle or connected to pain. There’s this concept of, if we can pull up a little bit, I teach a method called CLEAR, which stands for Circumstance, Language, Emotions, Actions, and Results. every circumstance is neutral.
It’s a language that you use that surrounds a circumstance that feeds the emotions, that feeds the actions, that feeds the results. If we look at a situation that is painful or struggling, we’re attaching thoughts and emotions to that to have it be painful or struggling. I’m talking painful like emotional pain, obviously not physical. If you broke your leg, you broke your leg. That’s a situation that’s painful. Emotionally we look at these things as painful and we attach this emotion of painful or these thoughts of this as painful to a neutral circumstance. That’s an interesting thing that we do that.
We try to run a race run away from. We don’t want to feel the pain. We don’t want to feel those “negative” emotions. It’s all your perspective, but we don’t want to feel those. We try to hide from them instead of focus on them. That is why we have such a huge influx of there are six buffering techniques that people use. The least common is drug use, but we still have drug use. Over drinking, people do that. Overeating, the United States is one of the most obese nations in the world. Binge-watching, there’s a reason why Netflix got ten million new users. Excessive gaming, whether it’s on your phone or on like a console or streaming service and excessive scrolling on social media.
Those are all things that we do to buffer from feeling the negative emotions to help us feel numb. We don’t have to feel the negative emotions. The problem is that when we feel numb, we don’t feel the positive emotions either. It can’t be a dismissal of the pain, the struggle and those negative emotions attached to that. It has to be how can I feel through this? How can I identify it first off? How can I identify what I’m feeling then? How can I understand why I’m feeling this way? How can I move back to the other side of the spectrum and understand that now I know what it feels like, or I understand why? I can make the shifts and adjustments to come back to the other side and feel those more positive emotions. I completely agree. We have to be able to feel those emotions because the more that we try to suppress them, we have to express them. If you suppress them, it builds up and builds up. We have a society that like we have, which is unhappy, depressed, and anxious long before COVID even happened. That reminds me of a Brené Brown quote. She said, “We cannot selectively numb emotions. When we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions. Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weaknesses.
Did you have that from memory?
I wish this is me a behind the scenes looking things up, I was going to say one of the first books we read in the book club was Rising Strong. I was like, “I remember that quote.” Talk about a memory.
I adore her. She talked about that in this wonderful presentation or a workshop that you did. I forget exactly what it was called, but it was about spirituality and vulnerability and strength. That stuck with me because in her research, she found that we can’t be selective. That’s the big downside to trying to numb ourselves. A lot of people do that is we have a society especially in America where as you were saying, all of these different things, the binge-watching and the drinking. There’s nothing wrong with any of those things. I do those things sometimes too. A lot of us do those on tough days. We reward ourselves with food or inactivity or we say that we deserved it. We earned it, all of those different mentalities.
If we step back and tune into ourselves, sometimes what we need is not those things. What need might be to cry, what meat we need might be to move our bodies or go outside. There are all these alternatives that we can turn to. Going back to what Jason was bringing up earlier, which was about that never-ending journey of self-discovery. I enjoy a lot of that because I enjoy finding alternatives. Similar to also what you were saying, Taylor, it’s like that preparation of I always know a number of different foods I can turn to. Instead of maybe eating some processed junk food, I could turn to this food that is more nutritious for me and also makes me feel good. I’ve experimented with a lot of different ways of eating, I have this like roster of food I can turn to or exercises. Going back to what Jason was saying, I get bored in my exercises too.
One of my techniques is to have a number of different types of exercises to choose from. I’m committed to exercising every day, but it doesn’t have to be the same thing over and over again. When I find myself in a like emotional funk and wanting to turn to something to numb myself or a coping mechanism, I can go through all of these different things that I’ve tried and do one of them and see how I feel instead of allowing myself to give in to all of these easier things, as you were saying too, Taylor.
On the other end, it’s that moderation mentality where I allow myself to binge watch TV every now and then. I don’t shame myself for it. I don’t allow myself to get in that spiral of feeling like, “I can’t believe I’m I watch hours of television. This is awful.” As long as I don’t do that too regularly and as long as I remind myself that there are other ways to feel better, that might have a longer-term benefit such as exercise.
When entertainment turns to escape, that is when it’s emotional buffering. It’s true. We all have some sugary foods. I can’t tell you how many times in my life I’ve gone to the fridge because I’m bored. If you open it up and you’re like, there’s nothing here and you close it. Ten minutes later, you opened it up again. It’s an emotional buffering though. You don’t want to feel a boredom. You’re trying to find something to eat. It’s when it goes from specifically around binge-watching scrolling on social media, gaming, alcohol, even recreation drug use. When it goes from entertainment to escape, that is when it has crossed the line from entertainment to emotional buffering and trying to ignore and numb what’s happening.
For me, Taylor, when you say that, what comes up is my state of being when I’m doing that activity. As an example, years ago, I had this link that I had discovered within myself, which is that whenever I was at home alone, feeling lonely, depressed, heartbroken, isolated, those emotions. I remember having this moment in my kitchen at the place before I lived in the house I’m in now, where I was reaching for a pint of ice cream. I was lonely. I was on the tail end of a breakup and healing from that and all this. I had this moment where I was like, “You’re not eating because you’re going to enjoy this ice cream. You’re eating because you’re lonely and your heart hurts.
My state of being matters a lot when I’m making these kinds of choices. If I’m re-watching Star Wars for the millionth time, am I doing it because I feel joyful about it or am I doing it because I don’t want to look at my anger issues? Am I eating this entire pint of ice cream because I’m enjoying this chocolate Rocky Road Ala Mode, or I’m doing it cause my heart’s broken and I’m lonely and I don’t have a partner? I’ve noticed that when my state of being is joyful, positive, happy contented, and I’m enjoying the proverbial ice cream, it’s a much different experience, not emotionally, but how my body assimilate and uses that food or interprets the movie or interprets the music and my state of being has everything to do with it. It’s a huge difference. I’m trying to be more mindful every time I sit down to a meal or sit down to take in a movie, music information of whether or not I’m doing it because I’m excited and joyful. I’m doing it as you said, because I want to somehow avert some uncomfortable or painful emotion that I need to sit with and experience.
Taylor, I love that you said that you like cans of frosting. For the audience, I hope I didn’t out you, Taylor. Taylor. Thinking about frosting immediately makes me want some. As well as Rocky Road, Jason, when you said Rocky Road, I’m like, “That sounds good.” This is a thing. Coming back to alternatives, this has been a big passion of mine for many years is introducing people to different alternatives for things. We are blessed and very privileged again in the United States, especially, but in many parts of the world, we have many options, many things that we can have that almost replicate the experience of something that we might perceive as negative.
When you think of Rocky Road, for example, there are many different versions of Rocky Road. There’s the dairy-based Rocky Road ice cream and there’s the vegan version. There’s probably a sugar free vegan version of it and a gluten free vegan. That’s neat. One thing I like to encourage people too is that you don’t have to go cold turkey. It’s like when a lot of people transition into a plant-based diet, they tend to eat things that reminds them of animal products. We call this the junk food stage of veganism, which is not meant to be judgmental. It’s that there are a lot of nutritious things that you can eat, but a lot of people tend to want to eat.
For me, it was Morningstar. When I went vegan in 2003, I was hooked on like all these Morningstar products that replicated like chicken and ribs. I don’t know if they still make this. They used to make these microwaveable vegetarian or vegan ribs. That was the stuff that brought me joy, even though it was processed food. I’m not even sure if those were vegan. It might’ve been when I was vegetarian, but my point being it’s like that was part of my transition.When we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions. Click To Tweet
Over time I could let go of my attachment to meat and slowly learn about less processed, more nutritious foods. Every once in a while, I know that I can go and have a vegan fried chicken. You better believe that as soon as KFC has their vegan chick fried chicken, which is going to be out in California, I’m going to go have it. Even though normally I wouldn’t be caught dead at KFC. I want to go experience it because it’s fun. It brings me joy. It’s not something I’m going to do all the time. I like to have that alternative. I like to know that that’s there for me.
Being able to encourage other people to go try it and what a cool thing. As a little side note, how amazing that KFC now is going to have vegan chicken, talk about an alternative. I’ve said this to people during my wellbeing coaching. A lot of people want to jump such a huge gap. They want to go from where they are now to where they want to be. It might be far apart from one another. That’s where a lot of failure and resistance can come up. It’s like you try to make the sleep, but you fall short. You’ve lost your confidence in your ability to do it.
One easy swap is that if you are somebody that goes to KFC but you’re like, “I want to stop eating animal products, but I’m addicted to the taste and the experience of going to KFC.” How amazing that you can still go to KFC, but have the vegan version there or all of these other chains that are now offering those things. They might be processed. I know vegans are up in arms about supporting a business like KFC. There’s much tied into that decision.
For some people, it’s closing that gap a little bit. Whether it’s food or wellbeing or any of these lifestyle choices and shifting your routine. It depends going back to the personality, Taylor, I’m somebody that when you talked about that 75 HARD, I’m all in. That sounds cool. For some people 75 days is super daunting. That’s why it’s so neat that you shared that technique of preparing and maybe easing yourself into those 75 days. In a way, the fact that program has that rule of, if you miss a day, you have to start over. What’s so bad about that? Maybe you don’t do it perfectly and you begin again. That’s an important thing for us psychologically as well. Jason, I’m curious how you feel about KFC too for a little side note.
That’s a strange tangent. I’m not going to go.
Is it an ethical thing for you?
I know that I eat that it’s going to make me feel like shit.
These are the things you have to learn about yourself. It might not be worth it in the way that Rocky Road ice cream.
Legit though, this is an interesting thing because psychologically if we get back to this state of being thing, I know that if I go have a bucket of vegan chicken or a pint of ice cream or whatever the case is, my body over time has become sensitive. Maybe not that maybe it’s more that I’m listening to my body better. That’s more of what it is. I know that if I eat certain things, I will get a momentary pleasure from it, but I will feel like absolute shit afterward. I’m at the point in my life where I don’t want the temporary pleasure because the payoff isn’t worth it to me. I’m looking at how else in my life, for instance, looking at my spending habits, which I’ve been taking a hard look at during quarantine and COVID of re-landscaping my finances and where my money is going and how many purchases I’ve made over the years. Where it was like that temporary euphoria, but then I felt like shit afterward. I know that might’ve been like, “It’s a teachable moment about KFC.” For me in all seriousness though, I’m trying to look at my life that way of where else am I may be defaulting to, “This tastes good.” The next day I feel like crap over the decision I made.
I’m glad you brought that up. That is an important element and this isn’t about KFC. I’m using this as an example. It’s funny because in my head I’m like, “That sounds fun and exciting.” I like experimenting and trying new things, but it hadn’t even occurred to me, Jason, that I might feel like shit after eating them. Sometimes you get excited about something you forget about the potential consequences or the side effects of it. That’s important too. That’s a huge part of my personality is I have so much curiosity. I want to try something once and be done with it. Maybe I’ll have a couple bites and share it with somebody and then get the vegan KFC experience out of my system.
That’s part of it too is each of us are in all these different places with experimenting and trying to figure out what works for us. I love that you, Jason have developed that confidence and that self-awareness. It’s like setting boundaries for yourself and communicating them to other people like, “At this stage, I’m not even willing to go try something because I know it’s not going to make me feel good or I assume it’s going to, based on the information I’ve collected. That’s a boundary that is good for your mental health, it sounds like. It is a teachable moment in a lot of ways.
This has been such an incredible conversation, Taylor. It’s been such a joy to have you on here. I feel like I wish that we were all hanging out. I don’t know if you drank, but like I would love to have a glass of wine and sit outside and enjoy the summer and be in nature maybe in Utah with you. I would love to travel again. Jason and I went to Utah last August, 2019. We drove through Utah to go to Colorado. There’s a video that been working on from that trip that I can’t wait to share. Utah is such a phenomenal state. I wish I could like snap my fingers and transport myself there with a glass of organic vegan wine and continue this conversation.Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren't always comfortable, but they're never weaknesses. Click To Tweet
Me too. I don’t drink, but I would be happy to have one of my gallons of water with 75 HARD. Sit back with you and totally keep on talking and hanging out. It’s been such a joy and honor to chat with you guys and to be on the show. I appreciate it.
Speaking of not drink, is water your beverage of choice? Do you drink coffee or tea? I’m always curious about what people drink and don’t drink.
I’m similar to Jason and I know what makes me feel gross and what doesn’t. Water is pretty much all I drink soda ever since I was a little kid and some people say I’m not officially diagnosed or anything, but some people say that it’s a sign of like ADHD. If caffeine depresses you and caffeine takes me out. It makes me loopy and sad and mentally it’s not good for me. I drink water and maybe the occasional lemonade. I also know that for me personally, refined sugars, this is the thing too. It’s not even physical or mental in terms of like speed or anything like that. When I have refined sugars, my emotional capacity is way low. I lose my temper at the drop of a hat. I shared my story. That used to be all the time. Now it’s few and far between, but if I eat refined sugars within the next 24 hours, every little thing sets me off and has me like grumbling in my mind about how stupid this is or whatever it is.
I don’t do refined sugars if I can help it. I drink water because caffeine and other types of beverages usually make me sad and depressed. Another thing is garlic. Jason, you might like totally cringe, but you also might know this. If you have an intolerance to garlic, it can take anywhere between 20 minutes to 24 hours before that intolerance hits your body and your system. I’ve had a garlic intolerance that I didn’t know I had for pretty much my whole life. In testing and trialing food and being like, I feel like crap, what is going on? Every time I’d have something with garlic, it would wreck me.
My brain would be foggy. I could breathe because it was an intolerance, not an allergy, but I would be every two seconds. I couldn’t get enough air. I felt bloated and I would be sick. My brain would be like, “We need to go to sleep.” It would shut me down. It would be so weird because I’d have something with garlic in twenty minutes, and I’d be like having some of these garlic for 20 hours, I’d be like that. I couldn’t quite figure it out. Finally, I decided to cut out garlic to see and game changer because I’m like, “I don’t eat stuff with garlic because it takes me out. I can’t do it. I love that both of you are food conscious and I’m not food conscious in terms of like, I don’t say I’m vegan, but I don’t eat meat.
I’m pretty much vegetarian. My 75 HARD was all vegetarian and no sugar, no dairy and limited grains because I’ve tested out many things that I know where I’m at my peak function. It’s not correlated to happiness, but I do think it is fairly close where if you can be mentally, emotionally and physically at your best based off of what you’re eating or what you’re doing, your happiness is so much easier because you’re already in a space where you’re willing to try, test and figure out how you can be at your best and your happiest self.
I’m super curious since you’re into water, do you drink sparkling water? Are you into that at all?
No, I’m lame. I had to get a gallon jug because part of my month of planning was I won’t succeed if I have to count leaders or courts or any of that. I got a gallon water bottle and it’s funny because I have people that are like how can you drink water that’s been out all day. It has to be cold. It’s funny because I know myself. I’m like, “When I drink cold water, I get cold in my body and I’m miserable.” This is nice for me because I can drink my gallon of water and I’m fine. I have nothing against sparkling water. My drink of choice is that I’m a water girl.
It’s funny how we can feel like embarrassed about sides of ourselves, but in a way, we would benefit from drinking mostly water. I love coffee. I developed a massive passion for coffee over the past few years. It was something I had no interest in it in for most of my life. Suddenly something shifted. It’s tricky because coffee is one of those things where you have to be mindful. There are many factors when it comes to choosing what coffee you’re going to have and certain coffees make me feel worse than some coffees. I feel great. It’s a complex subject matter. It’s also one of those things from a health standpoint where there’s a lot of different perspectives on the impacts of caffeine specifically coffee.
It’s something that I allow myself to indulge it. Unlike the two of you, Jason has this in common with you, Taylor, where he’s very sensitive to the caffeine in coffee, although he can have caffeinated tea well. Jason obviously jump into this, but I am somebody who, even though I’m sensitive to a lot of things like you, Taylor. I discovered a ton of food sensitivities that I’ve had probably my whole life had no idea about until I started experimenting and tuning into my body and feel so much better when I don’t eat certain foods. For some reason, I’m not sensitive to the caffeine and coffee most of the time, sometimes there’s an exception depending on the brand and the type. It’s fascinating. I have to be mindful about drinking water and creating different practices. I too have carried around big water bottles and filled them up. I go through phases where I have to drink the entire bottle by the end of every day. It’s neat that’s what you drink mainly.
If I was to put a bow on this whole conversation, it all comes down to all of us are different and an understanding of who you are, how you are in the world, what works for you and leaning into that, testing, trialing and figuring that out whether it’s food, happiness, workouts, setting yourself up for success, everybody is different, but we can all learn from each other. We can all test and trial to be at our best selves regardless of what the concept behind it is.
Taylor, it was such an absolute pleasure having you here. We did get very uncomfortable and vulnerable. We appreciate you showing up and being yourself and giving us all of the wonderful gifts and tools that you have. Thanks for being with us.
For anyone who wants to dig deeper into Taylor’s amazing work in the world, you can go to her website, which is HappinessAbound.com. We have some great resources as well on our website. We released an eBook that you can download for free. Go to our website, Wellevatr.com to the Resources Section, Free Resources. You will find from Chaos to Calm, which is our twelve favorite ways to deal with stress, depression, anxiety, and uncertainty, not during this crazy precarious time, but any time during our human existence. You can also find us on all of the social media platforms on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest and Twitter at Wellevatr.com. Thanks for being with us Taylor, Whitney. This was amazing as usual. Dear audience, thank you for being with us on the show. We’ll be with you again soon. Thanks so much.
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- Taylor Proctor
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck
- 75 HARD
- The Four Tendencies Quiz
- Everything is Figureoutable
- Rising Strong
- Social Media Influencers: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly – Previous Episode
- Living Out Your Truth: On Independent Media, Freedom Of Speech and More with Luke Storey – Previous Episode
- Facebook – Happiness Abound
- Facebook Group – Happiness Abounders
- Instagram – Happiness Abound
- Pinterest – Happiness Abound
About Taylor Proctor
Taylor Proctor is a transformational happiness mentor, happiness podcaster, and speaker.
She blends her experience as a global marketing director, leading international teams, with her mentoring certification to help her clients — individuals who find themselves wishing for more purpose, peace, and happiness — discover their personal happiness routines. Together, they uncover and implement the life they’ve always dreamed of.
Whether she’s podcasting, training a group, or working one-on-one with her clients, she loves sharing actionable techniques and exercises to inspire positive change, increase confidence, encourage vulnerable leadership, and remind others that they’re capable of happiness abound.
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