Self-help books have always represented my most-used tools in my personal growth journey. Last year I read Brené Brown’s Braving the Wilderness, which appealed to my inner scholar without being too ‘academic’, as it were. In an interview about the book, Brené made a comment that really struck me.
“If the only two tools that you have in our tool bag are shame or coddle, that’s a sorry-ass tool bag.” [25:20 into This Video with Marie Forleo]
My background is in mental health and this is pretty much the thought which goes through my head when people talk about medication, counselling or cognitive therapy. Same goes for general wellbeing where a spiritualist talks only about reiki, gratitude and the law of attraction.
As a young girl who turned to self-help materials at the age of 12 to try gaining some understanding of this inner fire I could not quieten down (my family called it ‘spunk’ or ‘rebellion’ depending on their mood), I have always tried to fill my tool kit with every possible technique to manage stress, my emotions and the day-to-day grind. That pull to seek out the truth for myself led me from neuroscience and quantum physics to mindfulness and novel-writing.
If nothing else stays with you, please know this:
There are Always More Tools
Humans are inherently resilient and continual problem-solvers. It’s why we tend to worry so much: we’re trying to plan and figure out and solve an issue, even if it hasn’t happened yet.
Every few months, I discover a new “tool” for following my inner pull. If I tried to list out my “tool-bag” in full, I’d easily have over 50 and that’s without having to think about official trainings or really specific techniques.
But having a large toolkit is only half the secret.
Knowing a skill doesn’t always mean you’re able to access it. Especially not in times of struggle. And that’s okay.
It’s not comfortable to struggle, but it is okay. Honest.
Part of being human is our experience of the fight, flight and freeze response.
We’ve all been in a position of knowing how to change things but been blocked from taking action. Either we’re depressed and exhausted or anxious and frozen in fear. Equally, you may have known that eating ice cream won’t help you lose weight or rushing an assignment may affect your grades… yet we still make choices that might not be the best ones for our goals.
We’ve all been there. In those moments, it’s often true that we are not accessing the tool which could help.
This is often where we fall down.
We have the tools. We are trained to use them. We’re aware of what tool to use where.
Yet, we struggle to access and implement them.
Whatever is inside that toolbox, we all have a slightly different key. And the key which fits it may change as our moods, circumstances and skills do.
The Importance of ‘Know Thyself’
And this is why one-to-one coaching is so powerful. Because we all have different locks, keys and certain tools which may only work in specific situations.
For some people, reverse psychology and a challenge to complete are their bridge to moving forward.
For others, the key to unlock the toolbox is made of motivational speech and positive thinking. For a third person, reading a book and actively stopping: letting the guard relax so that we can sneak past is the best way to reach those skills.
The other aspect of this is that sometimes, we need a new bag. It has a new type of lock: not requiring a key but a combination.
In any problem or obstacle, blending our tools together only works when we’re able to access them.
If your currently unlocked toolkit only has avoid, hide or fight, with the other skills behind a padlock: please remember that there are always more tools.
Need a hand to unlock your toolkit, and move forward on your creative vision? Check out The Focus Session package here: one hour to light your inner fire.