A Secret Solution to Worry, with Lise Cartwright

14 Aug A Secret Solution to Worry, with Lise Cartwright

This week, we have a long-time friend of DREAM THINK DO, Lise Cartwright.

Lise has written 27 bestselling books on the subjects of health and wellness, entrepreneurship, the side hustle, and she also loves to write about writing books.

When I saw the title of her most recent book called Mind The Chatter: Master Your Inner Voice, Gain a Positive Mindset, and Get Your Power Back I knew we had to have her back on DREAM THINK DO. We needed to talk about busting through that negative self-talk so you can make more of your dreams and goals a reality!

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INTERVIEW:

Lise, welcome back to DREAM THINK DO.

Oh, thanks for having me back. I’m so excited.

This is awesome. This is the third time you’ve been on! I’m super excited about this book. I put it out to the DREAM THINK DO community that you were going to be back, so I got a bunch of questions that hopefully, we’ll be able to get to towards the end.

I really want to talk about the new book, Mind the Chatter. You’ve written on so many different subjects. Why go after this subject of negative self-talk? Why was that important for you now?

Because it’s been a large part of my journey as an author. I guess that’s probably a big part of most people’s day-to-day living; this constant voice. And it’s not necessarily that it’s negative, it’s just that it’s not always helpful. Definitely in my experience for the last few years, when I started becoming more and more hyper-aware of the thoughts that were running through my head, I started to think how can I turn them around or how can I frame it so that it doesn’t feel like it’s always so negative. It’s the ultimate self-sabotage when you’ve got this constant chatter going on inside your head. How can you possibly be super successful if you’re undermining yourself at every point?

It’s so true, and it’s so subtle. A lot of times that negative self-talk is a part of the brain that’s trying to keep you safe, right?

Yes.

The same part of the brain that’s trying to keep you out of dark alleys and from making bad business deals. It really can creep in. When I saw that this was the subject of your new book and we talked about it a little bit, it just made me smile so much. Because you have helped me publish and you are awesome at writing your own books. You also coach others on getting their book done, getting it published, making it successful. I don’t know if you remember, but back with Ignite, basically about the day before it was supposed to launch something went very wrong.

Yes.

There was a big part of me that wanted to shut it down, but you were all about pushing through. So you do know that voice. You know it in yourself, you know it in others, so you’re the person to write this book. By the way, we got Ignite out, and launched it on time, thanks to you, and I’m so glad we did.

What I love about your approach is that you dive into some of the science that’s out there, but you’ve taken a creative approach too. You gave this voice a name.

Yes.

What’s the name, and why did you do it?

It’s so funny. I’ve had so many people ask about this name. My philosophy is very much that we have conversations with ourselves all the time. I wondered, what would it look like if I gave that voice a name? I need to separate this voice to be able to deal with it. I remember sitting at some point, I think I was going through it coming out to a book launch, and this inner voice was super loud in my head. I remember going, “Neville, shut up.” That was just the name that came into my head. It’s not specifically directed at a person or anything like that.

You don’t have a Neville from your school days.

No, no. Well actually, I do have one from my school days, and I’m very upfront in saying, “Neville, if you’re reading this book it’s nothing about you.” That’s the name that just came out.

I love it.

I’ve had lots of people ask me after reading the book, “Why did you choose a male name?” But it’s got nothing to do with male or female. It’s not that at all, it’s just as soon as I named it, that voice started to become quiet. It was like I had called it out and said, “Hey, you know what? I appreciate what you’re saying. I know that you’re trying to keep me safe, but I’ve got this. I can do this.”

Those are the types of conversations that I have with Neville on a day-to-day basis. Neville is a lot quicker to just let me manage things now because I have that conversation. I’m able to manage things so much easier because I put a name to it. It’s made such a big difference. I thought it might help other people. My husband does it. His inner voice has changed names quite a few times. I think he’s had Jose, and I think right now it’s just something he comes up with, completely random names.

I remember you sharing that Neville was your guy. I can’t remember how long ago it was; I remember smiling and thinking at the time, “I love that name,” because it’s one of those that’s not necessarily an intimidating name. We have listeners all over the world, so Neville, if you’re listening right now, no offense buddy.

Not at all.

But Neville is not an intimidating name. I love that you acknowledged the role of Neville is not necessarily to shut you down, It’s to keep you safe.

We’ve had a lot of guests on to talk about worry, stress, mind traffic, and mind junk, all of that. It’s a passionate subject for me too because I’m a recovering worrier. I love that approach because there’s so much power in it. I hear so many people talking about being aware, being present. This is one of those things that allows it to be more tangible and less threatening, so I love it. I know that it does help to set up the framework, that gold framework you write about in your book. I think it just goes so beautifully hand in hand.

All right, I’ve interrupted you enough. Talk to us about how Neville interacts with the GOLD framework, which is an acronym in your book.

I started having these conversations with Neville. Every time a thought would come into my mind that was really trying, it is about trying to keep me safe but also just trying to keep me in my comfort zone. Whenever I noticed that I would pause and just think, “Okay, Neville, let’s have a conversation about this. Tell me what you’re thinking.” Neville would come up with all of the reasons why I shouldn’t be trying to do this or why I should stay here, or not make this decision, all the things to make me stay in my comfort zone. My process was always to think, “Neville, thank you for raising that. But you know what? For this reason, I can do this,” particularly around the writing. I’ve written 26 books, so I got this. It’s that phrase, “I got this,” that really quiets Neville down. The minute that you say, “Thank you for bringing this to my attention. Thanks for looking after me, really, but I’ve got this, and this is the reason why.”

Then this GOLD framework is really about filling yourself with as much positivity as you can. You’ve got things to draw from because Neville is automatically that part of you that is going to go to the pessimistic side. Unfortunately, our brains are wired to go to that first. I’m just not sure why we are. Maybe it’s because when we were back in the caveman days, there were tigers hanging out in the bushes. We had to be hyper aware of that sort of thing, but we’re not now. If you could see my wall right now there are lots of sayings on the wall to constantly remind me of the positive that’s in my life and the will. If you choose to focus on that, versus focusing on what your version of Neville has to say at any given time, it’s a lot easier to reframe what life looks like.

Now for me, it’s second nature. Every morning I’ll wake up and write positive things in my journal. I’ll look at my positive things, me and Neville. Neville might say, “You know what Lise, I don’t think we should do this today,” or, “You know that thing you’ve got lined up? You should probably put that off.” And I respond, “You know what, Neville thanks again for raising this for me and keeping an eye out for me, but you know what? I’ve got this. I can do it.” Then I don’t hear from him for the rest of the day; he’s done his job. That’s the thing; he still has his job. You’re never going to get rid of him.

That’s one thing I’m adamant about in the book is that Neville is never going to go away. It’s part of who you are. We are just learning to manage him and manage that process so that he’s not sabotaging or crushing your dreams; so that you’re still able to function whilst also acknowledging that he’s only just trying to look out for you.

It’s funny, as I was reading through it I was reminded of Aikido. I don’t know if you’re familiar with different martial arts, but Aikido is just beautiful to watch. Aikido is one of those martial arts where you don’t use brute force against someone. You actually use their energy, your attacker’s energy to thwart them. What I loved about this is that I think so many people’s strategies or their attempts to overcome worry, stress, that negative voice, is to just try to shut it down. What I love is this is kind of an Aikido move. You’re kind of stepping to the side, agreeing with it, but letting it just pass right on by, right?

With the GOLD framework, you do break it down into four steps. Why don’t you walk us through those four steps?

The GOLD approach is to get aware of your thoughts. I think that’s one of the things that up until I figured out how to name it, Neville in my case. I’m a pretty positive person, but I did find that whenever I faced something that was not quite in the plan, it just kind of derailed me. I think that happens to a lot of people. It just opens you up to that negative channel.

I think that when they talked about brain science, the part of the brain that is Neville, it’s really your inner bodyguard, has been dying to function at a subconscious level.

Yes.

It can inspire those senses of tension, even the tingling. It does go back to the caveman days of us worrying about lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my! But since those don’t exist for most of us, it’s more that we have that fear that can get started from an ugly social media post. That’s today’s bears, lions, and tigers, but it doesn’t necessarily always happen at a conscious level – so I love how you’re talking about calling that out and just acknowledging.

Exactly. A GOLD framework is just raising that awareness. Name it. I’m quite clear about not choose a name that you know has a negative connotation for you. It’s not about doing it; it’s not about being a person that you know. It’s just a random, random name. Like I said, my husband’s chosen Jose. He doesn’t know anyone called Jose. It was just the name that came into his mind. That’s really what I would say just be careful that you don’t attach a name that you already have some kind of attachment to. It should just be the most random name that you can think of.

Right, almost one that makes you smile.

Yep, yep.

It’s that kind of thing. I think it’s so subtle but so important in this strategy.

I agree. Then the other part of the framework is learning to reframe. It’s about changing that inner chatter that you’ve got going on. Now you’re aware of it; now you have named it, now you’re going to reframe what that looks like. That’s about choosing the right words to have those conversations with Neville. It is not an attack. You’re not attacking that part of you. You’re thanking them. As long as you’re reframing it that way your conversations with Neville will be always positive. The reality is they don’t have any fuel to go forward with if you’re not switching into attack mode, which is what can happen if you’re arguing with someone. It is not about being defensive. It’s reframing it. That voice is not trying to kill your dreams. It’s trying to protect you. As long as you’re aware of that, then this process becomes quite easy. It’s quite an easy process.

Then the last part of the framework is about using positive affirmations to keep Neville in check. So when you are having those conversations with Neville, you’ve got plenty of positive words to draw on and show him that, you know what, life is great. There is no tiger hanging out in the bush.

Right, exactly. It’s Neville just doing his thing. Then if there are any elements of truth, you can say, “Okay, well if I’m worried about my book launch, what elements should I pay attention to?” It’s good. What I love is that it takes a lot of the fear and anxiousness out of it and continues to raise it to a sense of awareness as opposed to apprehension. That’s a whole lot more powerful.

Just to recap, G is for getting aware, the O for open to name, L for learn to reframe it and the D for to declare. You know me, I’m a prayer guy so I thought, “I’m going to do this when I’m praying too,” That negative voice can come in a lot of different ways, a lot of different times of days. It can be from a spiritual standpoint. It could be from positive affirmations, and quotes, and things you believe, all of those things. It’s a really powerful, simple process. What I love about it the most is this is something you could do in a couple of minutes.

There are some great practices out there if you have an hour and a half every day to devote to them. I don’t know about you, but I don’t know how realistic or practical that is, whereas this is a level of awareness, consciousness, and application that I can do in minutes. For me, being a recovering worrier, it’s something that I might have to do repeatedly or numerous times throughout the day, so it’s a really powerful strategy.

I like to keep things simple because It’s so much about awareness, just being aware and being understanding that this is part of you and it’s not actually negative, it’s just trying to protect you.

Absolutely. I love it. Here’s what we’re going to do is the transition from talking about this book to talking about publishing books. Again, gang, the book is called Mind The Chatter: Master Your Inner Voice, Gain a Positive Mindset, and Get The Power Back. Go grab the book.

We had several people chime in with questions. A lot of the questions that came in were more around writing books but I think it all relates back because so many of the questions also then tie into Neville.

As an example, Johnathon Cunningham asked the question, “Does the fact that you’ve written 27 books already make you wonder how much is left in the tank? Do you question if it’s sustainable?” I love that question because you can hear the question behind the question. If I wrote one book can I write another one, can I write another one? Did you have to wrestle with that kind of question as you wrote this book or any of the other books that you’ve written?

I guess for me, just to answer the pointed question of how can I keep writing, one of my processes is I have running lists at any given time of about 30 book ideas.

Wow.

I keep adding to it. I don’t feel like I’ll ever run out. I’ve been writing for four plus years now, and ideas just keep coming. What I’ve discovered is that the more you write, the more of your knowledge that you want to share seems to come up.

What I will say is that there have been times when I’m writing where Neville has been pretty loud, “You know what Lise, who are you to think that you can write on this topic?” It was so funny, Mind The Chatter, if I could have recorded the conversations I was having with Neville – super ironic. He was saying, “You know, there’s been a lot of science done around this type of thing. Who are you to chime in and talk about this when you have none of that kind of background?” Those are the types of things that go on whenever I’m writing. Honestly, Neville was probably the loudest with this book because it’s a little bit further out of what I typically write about. I just had to keep coming back and say, “You know what Neville, I’m writing this because of exactly what we’re having in this conversation about right now.”

I should have written down those conversations with Neville.

That would have been a great sidebar, right, or you could have put that in a bonus book or something.

Two things come to mind as you’re saying that, one, because worry has been a passionate subject for me I’ve read many of those books that are 350 pages of research and data, and all of that could be fascinating, it really can. There’s some amazing research out there, some amazing finding of how our brains work. I would much rather read a shorter book with things that I can apply immediately and in minutes, honestly, than a 300-page research-based book. I know yours is based on a lot of science and application, but I would much rather do that.

Also, you reminded me, I can’t remember if you ever talked about this, but Max Locado is one of my favorite authors. He’s just an incredibly prolific author. I don’t know how many books he’s written, but early on he wrestled with this very question, and so he decided that he wanted as a life goal to write 50 books.

Wow.

He made that goal as he was writing his first book, which seemed outrageous. He was wrestling to get his first book done, and he said, “You know what, I’m going to write 50 books.” Initially that goal scared him, but then eventually he saw how freeing it was because then he got released from saying, “If I only write one book it better be a masterpiece,” or he started to say, “If I write 50 books there’s go to be some good ones in there somewhere.” I love that thought. I love your ideas there, and I’m also really glad to hear that you had to use this approach even with this book.

Ok, Ringer asked a great question. He said, “Do you write when inspiration hits you or do you reserve certain times a day, a week so that you write when you’re feeling like you’re producing, or you’re inspired, or when you just go to work?”

It’s an interesting balance. In the beginning, I tried a different variety of times throughout the day to see when I was both inspired and productive. I am a morning person. I’ve always been a morning person. I’m one of those annoying people that as soon as the alarm goes up, I’m up, I’m awake.

I pop out of bed. My husband hates it because he’s not a morning person. I knew it was going to be morning for me, and so I just tried lots of things, lots of times. I found my sweet spot is 7 AM until 8 AM. I can go into another 2 hours, but my goal is to write for an hour a day. There are days where I may not feel like writing, but I write because like with any skill, you have to be consistent, and practice makes perfect. Even if I’m not necessarily feeling it, I have systems and strategies in place to help me move through that. I deliberately didn’t use the word push, because you never, ever want to push through when you’re writing. It’s more moving through that phase because, the reality is when you start writing it just flows. A lot of that has to do with Neville chiming in and just saying, “You know what Lise, I’m not feeling it today.” I’ll think, “You know what Neville, you’re not the one that’s writing.”

It reminds me of when you were coaching me, and we were working on “Dream Job: Redefined.” I remember saying at one point, I just need to find a full weekend where I can just write all weekend. I don’t know if you remember this, but you went real quiet and said, “Yeah,” because you know. You work with people all the time who have busy lives. You are an entrepreneur. You are a writer, but you have a business. You’ve got stuff that you do. That was something you offered me years ago to just sit down, have that time blocked and just write. One of the other things you said is, always know where you’re going to start. Just make a note, if you wrap up one day where you’re going to start the next day. That helped me so much, so I didn’t have to wrestle with where do I start? That’s exactly where I’m going.

Here’s another question: Jim Adams asked, “What authors inspire you and how or why did you develop a passion for writing?”

I’m a big non-fiction reader. I do read fiction, but I consume non-fiction like nobodies’ business. I love Jane Sincero. She wrote the books You Are A Badass.

Oh yeah, those are great.

I love her quirkiness. I love the way that she incorporates storytelling into her books. She has really inspired me. Elizabeth Gilbert is amazing. She does both fiction and non-fiction. Tim Ferriss is an amazing writer, one of the very first books I read from an entrepreneur perspective. Then I would say we’ve got another one here, Brendon Burchard. I love Brandon’s latest book, High-Performance Habits. Those are the types of books that I’m reading that really inspire me.

Regarding writing, I’ve always been a writer in some capacity. I’ve always had a diary right from when I was a teenager, have always written my ideas down. I’ve always journaled. It didn’t really occur to me to become a writer until I started looking at options outside of my job. I’d last about three years in a job and then get the urge to move on. That started me on a journey of what would I do regarding having some type of online business, having no real idea because I had no degree in writing. I’m the first person to put my hand up and say, “No special degree. I just write what I know, and I just want to share knowledge more than anything.” That’s what spurs me forward regarding writing. It’s more I was researching online and I came across a freelance writing program. That’s how I initially got started.

Then two years into that decided I didn’t want to be freelance writing either. I didn’t want to be still working with clients. I wanted to figure out a way to share my knowledge in a way that I could put my name to. That’s how I discovered being an author.

Awesome. Helen Kaufman has got a question; it’s about how you go about your writing. She said, “When we were taught writing, we were taught to write multiple drafts and retool and retool. As you approach your writing, modern tools permit other approaches now. How do you write, if you approach it as drafts, do you have a storyline? Do you have a second draft, a third draft? Do you sometimes edit things out? Do you salvage things later? How do you generally go about writing a book?”

My approach is probably a little bit different to what most university degrees would say you would do as a writer. For me, it’s about my first draft; I do go in drafts. My first draft is just an extension of my mind mapping process, where I’ll just do an initial brain dump. Then the first draft is really an extension of that. Whenever I approach the first draft, it’s my thought process; this is all about me as an author, just the first draft. I’m just going to write everything down that I know about this topic that I’m writing about. I’m just setting a timer, and I just go. I just write. I don’t think about what I’m writing. I just write based on the outline that I’ve created. For me to be able to do this, I need to have an outline that just has some bullet points for each chapter, so they’re just my writing prompts so that when I sit down, I can just write. I do that for an hour, and then that’s my process. My goal is to do an hour a day.

When I have that first draft written, and that can take me anywhere from two to four weeks, I’ll leave it for 24 hours. I need a break from it. I need it to sit. Then I’ll come back to it.

Then my second draft process is to read it out loud. I read it out loud because I want to capture any weird sentence structures. This read through process is to make sure that what I’ve written is going to make sense to a reader, from a reader’s perspective. What I’ve included in here, does the reader really need to know this? Because, like I said, the first draft was all about me as the author. Now when I’m going back through the second draft and the third draft, I’m flipping it around and focusing on the reader and what they need to know. I’m conscious of not trying to overwhelm people. I went readers to be able to implement what I’m teaching. I’m mindful of that when I’m going through that second draft, so looking for weird sentence structures, looking for weird word combinations, then really just making sure that I haven’t overwhelmed them. If I am removing that content, I just put it to the side and for now, just ignore it. Then I’ll go back and make all those changes, so that’s the second draft.

The third draft is when I will be coming at it from a grammatical, spelling viewpoint. I use the Hemingway app to do that. The Hemingway app is amazing. It will tell you what your grade level is from a reading comprehension perspective. It tells you all about passive voice, adjectives, adverbs, difficult sentence structures, all of that. It just tightens up your writing, and that’s it. Then I’m handing it off to the editor. At that point, I need another pair of eyes on it, so then it goes to the editor. The fourth draft with the editor, comes back to me, and I’ll do a final read through, so I guess that would be the fifth draft and then I’m done.

That’s awesome.

I’m very much about “Done is better than perfect.” That’s my favorite quote from Cheryl Sandberg.

Absolutely. I guess I didn’t realize the second step there, your second draft. It’s one of those things that I’ve always thought about with your writing specifically, is it’s always conversational. Whenever I read one of your books, it’s like I’m sitting down and having a conversation with Lise and that is a real gift. There’s a lot of people where you read their books, and it’s like I’m in a business meeting with this person.

Yeah.

Whereas your writing always feels like we’re having a conversation, which also helps readability. It helps with application.

One last question from the gang here. This comes from Steve Kelting. Steve’s always bringing gold questions. He’s asking one that’s a timeless question, but I couldn’t wait to ask you. He said, “What’s one thing you know now that you wish you’d known when you started?”

That’s a great question.

I think for me it would have been that process of flipping it around and focusing on the reader. That’s something that I was doing right from the get-go. Also knowing and understanding that it’s okay to write conversationally because we are often taught that prose is super important. If you were going to a traditional publisher, they are big sticklers for prose and making sure that you’re using proper English. The sentence structures have to be a certain way. You have to use certain words. You certainly wouldn’t be able to use slang; I use “gonna” and “wanna” a lot in my books because I say that when I’m talking. Those are probably two things I wish I’d known sooner because it would have made my process a lot easier, particularly when I read my first couple of books. I’ve found that I went down quite a few rabbit holes.

My first books were very much like that where too much information, explaining too much and going down that rabbit hole. So focus on the reader and make it conversational. I wish I’d known that right from the get-go because it would have made the writing process so much more fun when you write conversationally because it’s so much easier to just write how you talk.

It’s so funny because then people dream of writing a book, or they dream of even writing a blog post. But yet, they don’t give themselves that freedom to actually use their voice because they haven’t done that for a long time, if ever. I love that process of really celebrating your voice, and then looking forward, and then having the system to really make sure that it’s there. I love it.

See Lise, we’re going to have to have you back about 47 more times. All right gang, the book is “Mind The Chatter: Master Your Inner Voice, Gain A Positive Mindset, and Get Your Power Back” by Lise Cartwright. Go get it. You will thank me and thank Lise, and thank yourself for doing it. Lise, thanks so much for the time and the wisdom.

You’re so welcome. I’m so happy to be here.

All right, I hope you enjoyed that. I know I did. I love having Lise on.

As you heard about that strategy what name for that inner voice came to mind for you? I’ll be honest, since I interviewed Lise I’ve been experimenting with Stanley, and I like it, but I don’t know if it’s going to stick. Let me know. Leave a comment and let me know what name you’re going to try!

And remember… sharing is caring!

4 Comments
  • Jeff Meister
    Posted at 07:29h, 16 August Reply

    It’s “Jessie”! Jessie is the name. I love this idea. “Cool it, Jessie… I’m talking to Mitch right now. I know what to say. Thank you though, but I’ve got this.”

    • Mitch Matthews
      Posted at 15:48h, 19 August Reply

      Jeff – I love it. Jessie. That’s a good one. (I thought of Jessie James.) Way to take it and apply it right away!

  • Lise Cartwright
    Posted at 10:51h, 16 August Reply

    Yes Jeff! I love that. When I hear the name “Jessie” I immediately think of that song… it goes something like “I wish I had Jessie’s gal…” great choice and great way to reframe it!

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