thought work

How much “thought work” are you willing to do?

To lose the weight.

To stay in a relationship.

To keep the job.

To be a “good friend.”

Thought work is the internal work we do in our minds to change our limiting beliefs. More than anything, it requires us to Woman UP.

But all the thought work in the world won’t work against a mind that is stuck in old locked-in patterns. That’s because the mind loves to say one thing and then talk itself out of doing it.

The mind has moves.

Slick moves. Tricky moves.thought work

The mind knows how to back itself out of a corner. It thinks it’s doing you a favor by coming up with ways that…

         … allow you to keep overeating.

         … make you stay in a love-less relationship.

         … keep you stuck in a job you hate.

         … convince you to stick with “friends” who don’t lift you UP.

The mind likes short-cuts.

It wants instant relief. It comes up with thoughts that keep you going in circles.

Like this one:

“I just need a better-feeling thought.”

It’s the kiss of death.

Better-feeling thoughts are like dresses that don’t fit.

No matter how much you may want to fit into a smaller dress, the only dress that fits is the one that matches the size of your body.

Dresses. Relationships. Businesses. It all comes down to: “I have this. I want that.”

The only way to fit into a smaller dress is to do the deep, gut-wrenching thought work that stands between the dress size you wear now and the dress size you want to wear.

You cannot think yourself into a smaller dress until you think your way out of The Land of WTF, the uncomfortable, stifling, messy, frustrating space between where you are now and where you want to be. The Land of WTF can be a nightmare, mostly because we keep trying to fit into the smaller dress now.

We want to do a quantum leap from a size 14 to a size 4, without ever having to pass through sizes 12, 10, 8, and 6.

Which is why we stay…

… in the same body,

… in the same relationship,

… in the same job,

… in the same friendship…

…despite all those so-called better-feeling thoughts.


When I graduated from law school I remember feeling so proud of my ability to “think like a lawyer.” It wasn’t until I hired a coach to help me determine what I wanted to do with my law degree (anything but a 60-hour-a-week law firm job) that I really learned how to think UP, you know, like a card-carrying adult woman.

College courses like philosophy taught me how to think.

Law school taught me how to think like a lawyer.

Coaching taught me how to think like a gutsyass woman.


It’s not enough to learn how to think “better.”

Better-feeling thoughts aren’t guaranteed to make you feel better for longer than a minute. That’s because your mind and its ability to be logical and reasonable, can almost always recognize that Thought A is much “better” than Thought B.

Of course it’s better to think, “I love and respect my body,” rather than, “My body is a fat and disgusting vessel.”

But then watch what happens next. What does the thinker do next? That’s what counts.

Does she commit to a life-long plan to take care of her body in a loving and respectful way? Or does she go back to treating her body as if it were a fat and disgusting vessel?

Actions speak louder than any better-feeling thought. In fact, actions lead to better-feeling thoughts faster than mere thought work.

Don’t be too quick to rely on finding the better-feeling thought as a replacement for doing the deeper work of understanding the worse-feeling thought and why it’s there and the belief system it’s rooted in. Otherwise, better-feeling thoughts just circle back to where you were when you first started chasing after a way to feel better.

The only thing that lasts is a slow but seismic shift in the underlying belief system that drives the painful thoughts that protect the status quo.

And the first belief that must be believed is this: “I have the ability to figure this out.”

There is no better-feeling belief than this when you’re feeling lost and alone and stuck in The Land of You-Know!

When I mentor coaches about how to coach their clients, this is the work I teach.

It’s deep work and it has the potential to create profound change.


Belief systems are changed by our willingness to think and feel and do the work. Willingness is so much more powerful than willpower. It’s an intense resolve to stop talking and start doing; to ditch the excuses and figure “it” out; to not give regret a chance to rear its ugly head.

With willingness we aren’t so surprised when we get knocked down. We expect to get knocked down. No matter how committed we are to getting healthy, for example, we expect to find ourselves knee-deep in the Land of WTF one day, with chocolate cake crumbs all over our face, because, we “cheated.” And we’ll feel horrible, perhaps. But if we have a Strategic Thought Plan for how to think our way out of TLoWTF (“I knew this would happen one day and I promised myself to get back up on my feet and back on plan”), we can stay true to ourselves. Our dignity and our integrity remain intact. We feel good about our ability to figure out what to do next. And if we can’t figure it out, the mantra is, “I’ll find someone who can help me figure this out.” 

In other words, knowing derailment is practically inevitable, we can create a Strategic Thought Plan, written on paper or in our smart phone, reminding us what to DO when we find ourselves smack in the epicenter of TLoWTF.

We need to BELIEVE that we can FIGURE THIS OUT.

It’s never “One And Done.” The moment we let go of the notion that we “shouldn’t still have to be dealing with this again,” the more quickly we can get ourselves back on track.

This is how we Woman UP.

Believe it.

 thought work

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