168. The Empowerment Equation: Advocate for your Abilities to Amplify Your Potential

So often we spend a lot of wasted time arguing for our own limitations in the stories we tell ourselves – when we truly have the power to advocate for our abilities.

In this week’s podcast, I go in depth exploring 2 versions of a personal story. I dissect my story and share why it worked so you can start to craft your own empowering stories to amplify your potential.

I’ll see you inside! xo, Janeen



Episode 75: How to Overcome Obstacles to Reach Big Goals with Minda Dentler

Would you like to explore options to work together? janeenalley.com/breakthrough

>> WATCH on YouTube


[00:00:00] Janeen: Well, hey there, you guys. Welcome back to another episode of the podcast. I am Janeen Alley. And as always, I’m super excited to be hanging out with you today. You are currently listening to become the CEO of your life. And on today’s episode, we are talking about the empowerment equation. I am going to be teaching you how to advocate for your abilities to amplify your potential today.

[00:00:26] And the reason why I wanted to do this episode is I have been coaching a lot of clients who spend time with me arguing for their limitations. And we all do this, but this is kind of a trend or something that I’m seeing. And so I wanted to do this episode for them. I also wanted to do it for you in case you might be doing this in your own life.

[00:00:45] So let me give you an example of what I mean by this. So if you are somebody who has a goal to organize your house, when we argue for our limitations, this is what the story sounds like. I don’t know how to do that. I’m never going to [00:01:00] be able to keep my space clean. I have tried this in the past and it didn’t work.

[00:01:05] I’m afraid I’m not going to be able to find something. I just don’t feel like I can keep my house organized and clean. So one of the things that you might be wondering is, well, why don’t you just keep living the way that you’re living?

[00:01:17] It’s because they want to change. Right? I know that they want to change. That’s why they’re showing up to get coached, but they have this whole long story of why it won’t work for them. And when I try to poke holes in that story, they want to continue arguing with me about why it’s not going to work, which is fine.

[00:01:34] I know sometimes that this happens, but if this is happening to you and you’re not coaching with me right now, this is how we start to put the ball back in our court because arguing for our own limitations is a very disempowering story. So first, let’s start off by identifying limitations and then what I’m going to do a little bit different than what I normally do on the podcast.

[00:01:54] I’m actually going to share two different stories. This is actually a personal example, [00:02:00] and I’m going to share the story that I told myself and the story that I could have told myself. At the time, and we’re going to analyze both stories and see how the results ended up. Okay,

[00:02:11] So let’s start off first by identifying limitations. What are limitations and why do they even exist? So limitations are beliefs that we have. It’s our story. And oftentimes it’s a very powerful story because we believe the story. It’s all of the reasons why we think something isn’t going to work for us or why we can’t do something.

[00:02:34] And we often have tons of evidence to support this story. We have lots of excuses about why this isn’t going to work for us. Limitations can also be our emotions. We might get stuck feeling fearful or we might get stuck feeling doubt or overwhelmed or confusion. There’s a lot of different ways that we feel things that keep us stuck, right?

[00:02:59] And of [00:03:00] course, these emotions come up because of the story, but we’re afraid to feel them, and so we don’t end up moving forward. And our limitations exist because they keep us safe. Ultimately, we’re afraid that we’re going to fail, and when we fail, we’re afraid that we’re going to feel something. We’re going to feel humiliated, we’re going to be disappointed,

[00:03:20] I mean, there’s all these different emotions that come up when we don’t get something right. And we’re afraid of that. And so our primitive brain just wants to keep us safe and in the cave. And it’s like, don’t go do that scary thing. Let’s just sit here with the way that life is because we’re comfortable with this pain.

[00:03:40] I want you to think about that for a moment. There’s actually pain in the way that you’re currently experiencing your life, but it’s familiar to you. And so by doing the unknown, that’s an unknown experience, an unknown pain that will come up and you’re like, I’m good. I’m just going to sit here with this. But we don’t like it because we’re not getting results that we want.

[00:03:58] Okay. So let’s talk about the power of [00:04:00] story because like I said, emotions come from stories that we tell ourselves. Okay, and I’m going to give two examples of this, but first I want to give you a little bit of backstory. Okay, and this would, I’m going a little bit more than what I would put in my circumstance line, of course, but I want to give you context.

[00:04:16] Okay, so back in 2011, we moved our family to Germany and I really struggled there. I felt feelings of depression. and anxiety. I was also homeschooling all four of my kids at the time. Their ages ranged between two and nine when we moved there. And of course is, you know, we lived there for four years. So when we moved away from there, they were six and 13 ish.

[00:04:41] From youngest to oldest, and then two sandwiched in between. And the, the depression and the anxiety that I felt was often very crippling for me. I wanted to stay in my bed. I was with my kids during the day, but it was more like I was forcing myself to be there. I was not enjoying my life [00:05:00] and I struggled to feel normal.

[00:05:01] And I struggled to function what in a way that I felt was normal. I was kind of comparing the way that things used to be in my past. So the way that I felt then. And I just felt so off. And at first I didn’t know what was going on. I’d never experienced depression like that before. And it was so challenging for me.

[00:05:22] And so over time I worked with a homeschool mentor and I started to do a few little things to help kind of normalize the homeschooling situation, but I still was really struggling with my mental and emotional and physical health. About that time, I went to go watch my sister race. She did a couple triathlons in Europe and I can’t remember the exact time frame.

[00:05:42] She did one in Antwerp and she did one in Berlin and I was able to go to both of them. And when I watched her complete the race, I was so inspired because my sister is paraplegic. I’ve actually had her on the podcast before and I’ve had her share. how she trains for these events with some of the [00:06:00] obstacles and limitations that she has.

[00:06:01] So if you want to go back and find that episode, you can, her name is Minda Dentler. If you want to find that and I’ll actually put a link in the show notes for where you can find that episode. But a half iron race is a total of 70. 3 miles. It’s about a 1. 2 mile swim and then a 56 mile bike ride and a 13.

[00:06:23] 1 run and at the end of it. That’s the order of events. And at the time that I signed up for this event, I signed up for it in July. The race was in May of 2014. So I had 10 months to train. But at the time that I signed up, I actually was not doing any exercise at all. Okay. So that is the circumstance. I wanted to give you that backstory.

[00:06:43] Okay. So here is the first story that I could tell myself after watching my sister. There’s no way that I could do that event. I have four kids and they range in age from four to eleven. I seriously have no extra time. They are home with me all the [00:07:00] time. I don’t know how I would even leave the house to exercise.

[00:07:03] Not only that, but I live 30 minutes away from a gym. And the time that it would take for me to travel to the gym and then get the workout in and then come back to my house, it would just waste so much time in the travel. And the weather here is always so gloomy and rainy and gray. I don’t want to work outside because I don’t have the right gear in order to stay warm.

[00:07:24] I always have so much going on and there are so many people who need me and I can’t ever stay on top of things. I don’t feel like I can set up a schedule and stick to it because every single day feels different. And not only that, but I just feel like garbage most of the time. I don’t have the right kind of bike and I can’t even swim the length of a pool without needing to put my feet on the bottom or tread water to take a break.

[00:07:46] There’s no way that I could swim more than a mile and then bike and then run. And I don’t have anyone to work out with. It would just be super boring for me to do that. That is one way that I could tell that story. [00:08:00] Okay, if you know the end result, you probably know that’s not the story I picked.

[00:08:05] This is the story I chose to tell myself after I watched my sister race. Now I do have to tell you, this was before I was introduced to coaching. So this was kind of a story I told myself out of sheer desperation, but this was the story I believed.

[00:08:18] And so it was powerful for me. So after watching my sister race, I told myself, I’m going to sign up for a race and figure this out. That is what I told myself because I was so desperate to change. I told myself, Hey, I’ve never done anything like this before, but that’s not a reason for why I can’t figure this out and do this. I am going to do this. I’m going to purchase a plan. Meaning a workout plan. I’m going to print out that plan and I’m going to make it happen and I can totally get scrappy and get my runs done while my kids are at soccer practice and at swim lessons. And I can get my swims in before any of the kids are awake.

[00:08:57] It might mean that I need to wake up earlier in the morning, but I can [00:09:00] totally do that. I need and want to do this for my mental and emotional health, and I want to set a good example for my kids. There was a time I remember that I did an eight mile run.

[00:09:11] I remember walking back. I felt like my whole body was sore. I felt like I barely made it, but I told myself I’m super proud of myself and I know it’s going to get easier

[00:09:20] the more that I do this. I can bike outside, even if it’s raining and it’s cold. One of the things that was a challenge for me in this process was I signed up for a triathlon in Mallorca. I specifically picked a place that was going to be warm and sunny. But the Mallorca triathlon course, particularly on the bike section of it had this huge hill and there weren’t any hills around me.

[00:09:45] We lived pancake flat. That’s how flat it was. There was one hill though, where I lived and I just decided that I can ride hill repeats every once in a while to get my legs used to climbing and I used to just do that [00:10:00] over and over and over again. Okay, so let’s analyze these two stories. Okay, because they’re vastly different, even though the circumstances are the same.

[00:10:08] So the first story that I told myself where I was arguing for my limitations was I had no time. I had four young kids. I homeschooled at the time. I had no friends to work out with. I felt isolated, and I had never done it before, and I didn’t know how. That’s a pretty compelling argument, right? But fortunately, it wasn’t a story that I entertained for two seconds.

[00:10:33] The second story was way more powerful and I want to talk about why this story worked for me. Okay, because there are some really powerful elements. This is how we advocate for our abilities to achieve anything we want. Okay. The first part of it was I got really clear on my why, but you’ll hear me talk about often like priorities [00:11:00] and why things are important to you.

[00:11:01] You have to know what it is that you want and why you want it. And I was at a level nine or a 10 out of 10. Definitely. My why was very powerful for me. I knew where I was mentally and it was scary for me and I knew I didn’t feel normal and I knew that if I took care of myself, I would feel better. Those are some of the things that I believed and I wanted to do this for my family.

[00:11:27] I wanted my kids to see

[00:11:29] my process to overcome my struggle. Another little piece of my why, was I didn’t want to die on race day. I actually crossed my mind a lot. I knew that if I didn’t train and I didn’t get out of bed and I didn’t complete the workouts for the week that I wouldn’t finish.

[00:11:45] I wouldn’t be strong enough. And I have the endurance to actually complete the race. And I didn’t want that to happen. I knew that I was not only investing a lot of time in the event, but I was flying my whole family there to watch me and my parents were going to be there. My sister and her husband were also coming.

[00:11:59] And so that [00:12:00] was pretty compelling for me. I wanted to be able to finish not only for myself, but also because I knew they were watching. Okay. Another ingredient in this is that I applied a lot of determination. I did not give myself an out. I knew that this was going to happen and I knew that I was going to figure it out.

[00:12:19] There wasn’t really another option. I’m going to give you another example of this. I remember reading about Will Smith. And his journey to becoming one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood. And this was an example that Malcolm Gladwell gave in one of his books, talking about Will and his journey from living in West Philadelphia and a very poor neighborhood to Hollywood and all of the success that he’s had in his career as an actor.

[00:12:46] And one of the things that he said was after he did the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, there weren’t a lot of other actor gigs and roles coming in, and he just didn’t give himself a plan B. He was just set on becoming one of the highest paid [00:13:00] actors in Hollywood at the time. I think that was his goal, was to become the highest paid actor in Hollywood at the time.

[00:13:05] And he was like, kind of a B list actor. From Fresh Prince to nothing, right? There was a long period of time where we didn’t hear from him. I think until Men in Black was like the next time that I remember seeing him on screen. That was a long period of time, but he just kind of kept his eye on the prize.

[00:13:22] He did not give himself another option. And that was exactly where I was energetically. I did not give myself Another option. I didn’t entertain any ideas of quitting or doing something different. I did not tell myself I was going to try this out. It was a done deal. I told myself I was going to, and then I was going to figure it out along the way.

[00:13:44] That was how I did that. And it wasn’t like a, I have to do this. It was like, let’s just see what happens. We’re going to do this. And we’re going to pivot until we get the result that we want. Okay,

[00:13:57] another element that I use in my own [00:14:00] empowerment equation was I got super scrappy and this is something that I feel like as an entrepreneur. I have tapped into multiple times. We have to learn how to get resourceful. I use different aspects of my why strategy to get me going, particularly getting out of bed when I didn’t want to because it was dark and it was cold and it’s Germany, so it’s also damp and I didn’t want to get out of my bed. And so this is when I specifically used that piece of my why where I didn’t want to die on race day. That was where I was kind of focusing on that. I wasn’t focused on doing this for my mental health as much because I knew that I would be able to talk myself into going back to bed.

[00:14:40] But if I told myself, you don’t want to die on race day, you’re like, Oh my gosh, you’re right. I don’t want to die on race day. And I got out of bed. So you have to learn what works for you. I wanted to cross the finish line and I would visualize race day and the sun and the water and the crowds and my family.

[00:14:57] I also did this right before jumping into the [00:15:00] pool because there is that cold shock when you get in. It’s like, Oh my gosh, I do not want to do that. But both of those instances, I use visualization and a different aspect of my why in order to get going. But there was that element of time. I was shorter on time because I had four kids with me all the time and they were all at different levels and they were all doing different things.

[00:15:22] And so when my kids were playing soccer or when they were taking swimming lessons, I was either running around the track or I was running around the perimeter of the base if they were at the pool because I knew they were safe with the lifeguards. Right. It was super boring. It was, I’m not going to lie, but I had my tunes on or I had

[00:15:39] information that I was kind of soaking up during the run. And I didn’t care that it was boring because I cared more about checking my fitness box for the day. I cared more about getting that run in and feeling super proud of myself that I got it done, even though I was tight on time. Okay.

[00:15:58] There is power in [00:16:00] setting realistic goals and building confidence along the way.

[00:16:03] Although I do have to say, I have no problem setting kind of crazy, shoot for the moon kind of goals in my business. I don’t have a problem with that, but you want to do something that gets you excited.

[00:16:15] And there is kind of this little element of like nervousness, I think in the goal, but mostly excitement, right. Now I have iron man is a big goal for people who are in shape. And I told you, I wasn’t in shape at the time. It was a little bit of a crazy goal for me. I don’t recommend this for everyone, but for me.

[00:16:37] I do have a background in personal training. I had run a marathon before and I had done a hundred mile bike ride around Lake Tahoe. So it didn’t mean I had never done anything like that before. So the muscle memory was there. I just knew I needed to get my rear end gear. And this was enough of a push for me to do it.

[00:16:54] And I gave myself 10 months to get there. My biggest concern was that I was going to do too much too [00:17:00] soon. So I had to really learn how to rein myself in. So there is an importance, particularly on an athletic event like that, there is an importance of setting an achievable goal and building from there.

[00:17:12] So if you ultimately, for example, want to run a marathon or you want to do an endurance event like that, you want to start with smaller things. If you’re not doing anything right. now. And then we tweak it from there. So I actually started out, I remember with the fitness plan from Joe Freel. That I paid for.

[00:17:28] I can’t remember. It was maybe a hundred bucks or something, but I noticed with doing his program that I wasn’t fully recovering after my workouts for the week, I was noticing that I was progressively getting more tired to a point where I would be exhausted around four o’clock at night. And I remember reading at some point,

[00:17:49] don’t do this particular workout or this particular training regimen, if this is your first half iron man. And I just, [00:18:00] I got a little egotistical. I’m not going to lie. I’m like, it’s fine. I have a fitness background. I’m just going to purchase it anyway, because I thought, well, this will be intense. And there was a little part of me that wanted to get a fast time for the event.

[00:18:13] And so, Yeah. Probably three months into this, I had to do a little ego check, and I had to switch to a more women specific plan. And it was a much better fit for me. So as far as strategies go, you want to be thinking about building confidence on your path and working on your self esteem.

[00:18:32] And what that means is you want to create little wins along the way. So you’re taking small steps towards your goals and you’re creating a 1 percent improvement. So if I was organizing my house, for example, I would take one drawer. Or I would take one file system or something or one corner of my desk.

[00:18:55] I mean, depending on how many piles of papers that you have all over the place, right? Just take [00:19:00] one thing and then just do that thing. Set a timer and make it happen. So there’s ways that you can apply this to multiple goals or. Experiences that you want in places where you feel like you have a disempowering story.

[00:19:13] Okay. The next way that I really helped to amplify my abilities is I found inspiration and role models who fortunately for me was somebody I’m related to is my sister. So when I watched her race, I was so inspired because she is a paraplegic. She only has the use of her arms. She does not do these events with her lower body.

[00:19:37] She has a full time job. I can’t remember if she was married at the time, but she was for sure dating Sean because he was at these events and she would wake up at three o’clock in the morning and she would take an hour long bus ride across Manhattan, she lived in New York city at the time, to swim at the only 50 meter pool that they had on the island.

[00:19:57] And then she would come back and she would go to [00:20:00] work. And that was one of the ways that she trained for these long distance triathlons. And I’m like, okay, if she’s got all of that going on, I can figure out a way to make this work for me. I don’t want to get up at three, but I’m going to make this work for me.

[00:20:14] The other thing that I felt like as a win for me is I would watch other people race. So these are people I didn’t know. And I was of course inspired by the people who were fast, but I couldn’t really relate to them because I wasn’t fast and I wasn’t doing The training that they were doing. Who I was inspired the most by were the people who came in last, or the people who were at the end of the event.

[00:20:35] If you’re at these events, you’ll see this: the crew who is putting this event on starts taking things down. Like, what are you guys doing? Leave up the ribbons and the banners and the, and the ways that you direct people, so they don’t get lost on this thing. There are still people out on the course. And sometimes the timer has timed out and there’s people who are still striving for the finish line.[00:21:00]

[00:21:00] And for me, I still get a little bit choked up and emotional just thinking about that because it’s all inside of them. They’re not doing it for the ribbon. They’re not doing it for time they’re just doing it for themselves to finish. And I was so inspired by that, particularly looking at all of these different kinds of body types and shapes who were doing these events.

[00:21:20] I’m like, wow, that is inspiring. I mean, we see these Olympians that are, you know, have like 2 percent body fat and we’re like, I’m not like that, but I could definitely relate more to the people who were in the back half of the event. And I’m like, okay, I look like that woman and I can do this.

[00:21:36] She’s doing it. I can do it. And so that was also really inspiring to me. So find your own role models. Learn their stories, if that’s helpful for you or show up at events and just watch, ask people about their stories, just go up to an athlete. I mean, I’m using them as an example and have them tell you their story.

[00:21:59] Tell them [00:22:00] that they inspire you and ask to take their picture and then put that picture somewhere that you see all the time, because that will help you to get your rear in gear. Ask yourself, how can this work for you? Okay. Or if you want organizing help, like take pictures of spaces that inspire you or find people who are in your circumstances who have a space that you feel like, okay, yeah, this feels like I can do this.

[00:22:26] You want to be able to find people that are relatable to you that inspire you. Okay. The next piece of this in amplifying your potential is take action and apply perseverance to what it is that you’re doing.

[00:22:41] So I was meticulous about getting my workouts in almost to the point where it wasn’t good for me until I read more of the book by Joel Friel, he was the guy that I just mentioned that I had purchased this program at first. He had written like the triathlete training Bible or something like that, and one of the things that he [00:23:00] said in that book was you want to shoot to get about 75 percent of your workouts done.

[00:23:05] And I remember at the time I read that, I’m like, Oh gosh, I’m like getting 90 percent of my workouts in. And so my brain shifted focus instead of focusing on the 10 percent of the workouts that I wasn’t doing. I’m now thinking, Oh my gosh, I’m getting 90 percent of these done. I’m totally going to finish.

[00:23:20] I cannot tell you how big of an impact that tiny little mental shift made for me because it went from, I don’t know if I’m going to finish the race. I don’t know if this is going to be worth it at the end to I’m totally doing this. I remember even saying that to myself over and over again, it’s in the bag. This is totally happening. I remember. Another thing with taking action and perseverance. I remember because I signed up for the race in July and the event was in May. I remember Christmas vacation. I was home with my family. My husband was home.

[00:23:52] He was off work and I had a swim to do that day. And it was the afternoon. I normally was waking up early in the morning to get things done, but [00:24:00] I didn’t go to the pool because my husband was home. And I was like, well, I’ve got all day. And of course, once the day got going, I didn’t want to go to the pool.

[00:24:08] I did not want to get wet. I did not want to take another shower. But I did it. I wanted to be home with my husband and my kids, but I did it anyway. I told myself 60 minutes, you can do anything for an hour. I was the only one in the pool that day and it was painful. I mean, so much so that I remember it, but I got it done.

[00:24:27] Celebrating how far you’ve come instead of how far you need to go is game changing in the switch of

[00:24:36] advocating for your ability to get something done that doesn’t feel possible for you right now. It’s the way that we can amplify our potential in this process.

[00:24:46] So what I want you to do from here is I want you to identify your disempowering story.

[00:24:52] You can write it down. You can write down all the reasons why this isn’t going to work for you. And I want you to take a look at it and I want you to ask yourself, [00:25:00] okay, what’s true in this story? And immediately what you’re going to do is you’re going to, you’re going to tell yourself the whole thing’s true.

[00:25:06] This whole story is true, but I want you to look for facts. And you can even ask somebody else to find the facts on the paper because your story or your thought, I can’t do this feels factual, but it’s actually just your opinion about you. It’s not factual. So having somebody else help you identify the facts in your story, it might be helpful if it feels like that’s too big of a stretch.

[00:25:29] What I want you to do is I want you to take some notes on ways that you can turn that story into an empowering story about yourself. You saw the two ways that I told that story, the story that I don’t have time. I can’t get this done. I can’t do this to I can totally finish this. I mean, I blew my own mind with that story shift.

[00:25:52] That’s it. And that’s totally possible for you. You just have to be able to tell yourself a more empowering story and build from there.[00:26:00] All right, you guys, that’s what I have for you today. Thank you so much for tuning in. I want you to keep going for your dreams because they totally matter. They really do. You are here to make a difference.

[00:26:11] And in so many ways you already are. All right. So next week on the podcast, I am going to be talking about the happiness pursuit and finding joy in the journey of achievement, because even that my friends is 50 50. So between now and then, if you have questions for me or feedback for me about the podcast, I would love to hear from you.

[00:26:32] Just go ahead and send me a direct message on Instagram. And I would also love to hear ideas about future episodes of the podcast. So like I said, reach out to me on Instagram and send me all of the feedback over there. If you would like to explore options to work together, feel free to book a call with me.

[00:26:49] You can go to janeenalley.com/breakthrough. Again, that’s janeenalley.com/breakthrough. And all of the links, what I just shared with you are found on the show notes of the podcast. All [00:27:00] right, my friends have a beautiful rest of your week and we’ll catch you guys next time.

[00:27:03] We’ll see you. Bye bye.