April 14, 2020

Part 1: Finding Your New Normal in a Post-COVID World

Part 1: Finding Your New Normal in a Post-COVID World

The global COVID-19 outbreak has caused people to deal with uncertainty in ways they never have before.

Life as we know it has been flipped on its head. If you’re like most, you’re ready for things to get back to normal and to heal from trauma this pandemic has caused.

While it stirs up a lot of negative emotions like fear, anxiety, stress, overwhelm, desperation, frustration, even anger… it is possible to feel happy, deal with uncertainty, and heal from trauma in spite of it all, and inside of today’s episode, I’m going to show you how.

In order to find your new normal, both in this situation and with any curveball life throws your way, it’s important to first understand:

  • what trauma is
  • what happens on an emotional level when you experience trauma, and 
  • what needs to happen next so that you can feel safe and secure once again, deal with uncertainty and ultimately heal from trauma

There’s a lot to unpack here, which is why this special episode is broken out into two parts: first, to lay the foundation on how to deal with uncertainty; then, to identify the next best action steps to take to heal from trauma so you can feel happy once again. 

What I won’t give you is a checklist of things to feel happy, like get 8 hours of sleep and take your vitamins and get fresh air like all the experts out there on the news are touting, because giving you more things to do, (especially with no real reason for doing them), doesn’t help you long-term. And I’m here to help.

BY THE TIME YOU FINISH LISTENING TO TODAY’S EPISODE, YOU’LL KNOW 

  • WHERE trauma really comes from

  • WHY your perception of trauma makes a big difference in how you’re able to show up in the world and to perform to the best of your ability in life

  • The difference between  “big T trauma” and “little t trauma”

  • The reason why it’s so important to learn how to deal with uncertainty, and work through and heal from trauma

  • Concrete ways to deal with uncertainty that you can use right now to feel happy, safe, and secure once again and heal from trauma

Fair warning: this episode it’s not for the faint of heart. It’s definitely not for those who aren’t willing to take a deeper look at what’s really going on under the surface on how to deal with uncertainty and heal from trauma.

If you’re serious about learning how to take charge of your emotional and psychological wellbeing and heal from trauma so you can find your new normal, then pop in those earbuds and let’s dive in! Then, make sure you join me back next week when we dive into Part 2 of this episode series, where I’ll show you how to find your new normal so you can feel happy and find your rhythm once again. 

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Transcript

You’re Listening to the Systems Made Simple™ podcast, Episode # 13 which is all about how to deal with uncertainty and how to heal from trauma.  

Now at the time of this recording, we’re currently smack in the middle of a global crisis, known as the Coronavirus. 

Life as we know it has been flipped on its head. And it doesn’t matter when you’re listening to this episode, because given that this crisis is affecting the entire globe, not just one part of the globe, that means there's a very good chance you have been affected by it in one way or another. And not just the effects this Trauma has had on your life, your family, your financial situation, maybe even your job, your health, your livelihood during the time it was happening around you… it’s also the after-effects. How life will never be the same. How, forever going forward, your history is marked, in some way, with this crisis. 

And if you’re like most people, you are craving for things to get back to normal and heal from trauma. Or to find your “new normal” and to figure out what the heck that even looks like. For many people, this stirs up a LOT of negative emotions, like fear, anxiety, stress, overwhelm, desperation, frustration, even anger… you name it, someone out there has felt it. Maybe even you.

It’s traumatic. In the truest sense of the word. And in order to find your new normal, both in this situation and with ANY curveball life throws your way, it’s important to first understand what trauma is, what happens on an emotional level when you experience trauma, and what needs to happen next so that you can find your new normal and feel safe and secure once again so you deal with uncertainty and heal from trauma.

So today,  we’re going to really dive deep and unpack this. There’s a lot here to dig into, which is why I’ve broken it out into two episodes. First, we need to lay the foundation. Then once that’s solid, we can take action that makes good sense. I’m not here to give you a checklist of things to make sure you’re paying attention to right now to take care of your emotional and physical wellbeing -- like get 8 hours of sleep and take your vitamins and get fresh air like all the experts out there on the news are touting -- that’s not what I’m about. Why? 

Because giving you more things to do, especially with no real reason for doing them, doesn’t HELP you heal from trauma. And I’m here to help you and guide you to heal from trauma. Because when you start digging deeper into this topic, you realize that it’s sort of like an onion. There’s the outer layer, then there’s the next layer, and you can always go deeper and discover new things, which is why I love talking about this so much and which is why it’s so rewarding to experience healing from the traumatic events in your life -- because it removes the layers that have been keeping the real you from the world. These layers of protection if you will. 

Ok so before we get too deep into this,  here’s what we’re going to cover in today’s episode, Part 1 of overcoming trauma and finding your new normal while learning how to heal from trauma and how to deal with uncertainty.

We’re going to talk about WHERE trauma comes from and why your perception of trauma really makes a difference in how you’re able to show up in the world and to perform to the best of your ability in life. 

This is also where we’ll talk a little bit about the difference between what I call big T trauma and little t trauma. Both matter, both are extremely important, and we’ll talk about why sometimes, little t trauma is even more subtle and sneaky at undermining your growth and progress than big T trauma. I’ll explain exactly what I mean by this because this is so important for you to understand, because it affects every area of your life, including your work and how to deal with uncertainty and heal from trauma.

Then I want to show you the benefits of working through all kinds of trauma -- both big T and little t, and why it’s important to heal through it. Not from it, but through it. 

And THEN after we’ve laid the foundation here, we’ll really be able to have a heart to heart conversation about this idea of “Finding your new normal” which is what we’ll dive into in Part 2 of this episode. I’ll show you what you want to do in order to get your mojo back, and what things to avoid doing that will slow you down if you do them and how to deal with uncertainty and heal from trauma. 

Fair warning, this episode it’s not for the faint of heart, and it’s definitely not for those who aren’t willing to take a deeper look at what’s really going on under the surface, how to deal with uncertainty, and learn how to heal from trauma. Some people like to try to fix engine problems by going to the car wash, thinking that if they can just keep a shiny exterior, everything will be ok. This episode is not for those people. And you don’t need me to tell you that you can only wash your car so many times before it breaks down on you, if the issue is actually what’s going on under the hood. SO if you’re really ready to get serious and learn how to take charge of your emotional and psychological wellbeing and heal so you can find your new normal… even a BETTER NORMAL than maybe you had before… Well, stay tuned because these episodes, my friend, are for YOU.

[INTRO TRACK]

Well HEY guys, welcome to the Systems Made Simple™ podcast. I’m your host Courtney Elmer, and as always, it is great to have you here. Every time I sit down to record one of these episodes, I feel like I really am just sitting here having a conversation with you, as if we were curled up on my sofa sharing a cup of coffee, and from what I’ve been hearing from our listeners, it sounds like you guys are feeling that too which makes me super happy, because that was the whole reason I started this show. I wanted to be able to connect with you on a deeper level, and talk about things that we can’t really talk about as deeply in a social media post. I wanted to create something that would be a two-way conversation, where I can teach you what I know, and the knowledge and experience I’ve gained from my years in business and also from overcoming some pretty big obstacles in my own life, and where I can hear what’s on your mind and answer the questions you have about the challenges you’re facing right now and also celebrating your wins with you.

In fact Amanda, @amandamillermakeup who is our featured listener of the week, left us a 5-star review and says that EVERY episode has spoken directly to her heart. Thanks Amanda for these incredible kind words - when I read your review my heart did a little flip because this is EXACTLY what I want these episodes to do.

My hope is that EVERY episode speaks directly to you listening right now, too.

Especially now, because at the time of this recording, we are in the middle of the global pandemic known as COVID-19, or the coronavirus, which has literally turned life as we know it upside down and is affecting everyone in a big way, not just from the threat of the disease itself, but the toll it’s having on our economy, our unemployment rates, on the ability for some people to pay bills and put food on the table. 

So before I go any further, I want you to remember that whatever you’re feeling, you’re not alone.

Your feelings are not wrong. We all have them.

The thing to realize is that these feelings aren’t just going to go away with all this is behind us. They're going to find somewhere inside of you and make a home.

The only way to avoid that is to talk about them and how to deal with uncertainty and heal from trauma.

And that is why we’re going to have a heart-to-heart conversation today about these things called EMOTIONS, and why you experience them whenever there’s a traumatic event in your life that takes place, so you deal with uncertainty and heal from trauma.

So first, let’s talk about WHERE trauma comes from. I want to help you understand the very important difference between what I call big T trauma and little t trauma. And why sometimes, little t trauma is even more subtle and sneaky at undermining your growth and progress than big T trauma.

Ok so what I call big T trauma is the type of trauma that you typically think of when you hear the word, “trauma.” Things like disaster, injury, other deeply distressing or disturbing experiences. And it can occur from a single incident, it can occur from something that’s repeated and prolonged -- like domestic violence or abuse. 

Little t trauma is something that on the outside appears less significant, like maybe getting teased on the playground when you were 5. You wouldn’t necessarily consider that “traumatic” in the big T sense, but at 5, in your mind’s interpretation, it was a traumatic experience. 

WHY? Well, because trauma is the Greek word for "wound". Although the Greeks used the term only for physical injuries, nowadays trauma is just as likely to refer to emotional wounds.

That’s the key piece I want you to get here. 

Trauma is the response to any event that overwhelms your ability to cope, causes feelings of helplessness, diminishes your sense of self and your ability to feel the full range of emotions and experiences. It prevents you from learning how to deal with uncertainty and heal from trauma.

Taking care of your EMOTIONAL health is not something we’re really taught how to do in our society. And gosh I wish we were. Because your perception of trauma really makes a difference in how you’re able to show up in the world and to perform to the best of your ability in life. And your perception of the events that happen in your life is a highly individual experience. 

The emotional “wound” that was caused when the trauma happened, whether it was big T or little t, will make a home inside of you, and it will influence all of your future decisions and color your perception of future experiences, if you’re not aware of it and you’re not consciously working to heal through it. 

Fascinating stuff. And this is where we get into the topic of limiting beliefs that you’ve heard me talk about here on the show so many times before. In fact James Wedmore did an awesome job breaking down what a belief is, where it comes from, and how they affect our ability to perform in Episodes 18 & 19 so definitely check these out and listen to those if you haven’t already. 

People wonder why they have such a hard time changing habits and taking action when really it’s simple. It’s not the habits and actions you need to change. That’s a car wash. 

It’s the thoughts that cause the actions, and the events that have TRIGGERED those thoughts. 

Triggers → Thoughts → Actions → Consequences. 

Your thoughts are ultimately what control your actions. Control what you think, and you’ll master what you do. 

Now, we’re taking this one layer deeper, to talk about what’s actually caused you to think the way you think. 

Listen carefully. When an event happens in your life, and you feel some sort of negative emotion, your unconscious mind kicks into high gear and tries to protect you by creating thoughts that help you cope with this so that if that event were to happen again in the future, you would be SAFE, you would not experience these painful emotions again, or at least to the extent that you felt them that first time. 

Now when I say negative emotions, I don’t mean that these emotions are BAD, we’re not labeling here. I’m just referring to emotions that have more of a negative energy associated with them, and are the opposite of what we would refer to as positive emotions which have more of a positive energy. Think of happiness, joy, interest, curiosity, excitement, gratitude, love, and contentment. These positive emotions uplift you. Negative emotions — like sadness, anger, loneliness, jealousy, self-criticism, fear, or rejection — can be difficult, even painful at times.

Let me give you an example of how this played out in my own life. How a little t trauma caused a pattern of thought in my mind, to protect me from painful emotions, but actually hindered my growth as a woman and my growth in business. It also taught me how to deal with uncertainty and how to heal from trauma.

When I was in the 3rd grade, two of my classmates laughed at me in small group when I told them the topic I was going to present to the class was “How to Groom Your Horse in 5 Easy Steps”. 

The truth is, this event haunted me for years… without me realizing it. In fact, the embarrassment and shame I felt in that moment, caused me to unconsciously decide that my ideas weren’t worth sharing, or if I did share them, I’d be laughed at. 

This of course wasn’t true, but it was my unconscious mind’s way of protecting me from feeling that EMOTIONAL PAIN, triggered by this event. So unconsciously, I blocked this experience from my memory, and adapted to my new coping mechanism, which was the thought that I shouldn’t speak up, I shouldn’t share my ideas. It was too big a risk. Of course, I didn’t realize this was going on under the surface, under the hood. And it really became a problem when I started my business. I had big ideas to share. I wanted to be a thought leader. But I couldn’t get my message to resonate with people. I’d put out blog post after blog post and social media video after social media video, and just get a few likes here and a couple of shares there. It wasn’t the OMG THIS IS MIND BLOWING FREAKIN AMAZING content that I wanted to be creating. And it wasn’t until I REALIZED this belief, this idea that I shouldn’t speak up and share my ideas was operating under the surface, driving my actions, which were determining my results. 

Now, you might be thinking why would my unconscious mind do that, why would it try to keep me safe like this when really it’s just hurting me? And your unconscious mind is the innocent party here. It’s main JOB is to keep you safe. It’s just that what kept you safe 10, 20, 30 years ago when an event happened in your life that caused you emotional pain isn’t necessarily the greatest coping mechanism now. Yea, maybe on the playground at school me keeping my mouth shut was a good way to avoid being embarrassed. But later on in life, this coping mechanism., this pattern didn’t serve me. The PROBLEM is that most of us aren’t aware of the thought patterns going on under the surface.

So I was forced to play small in my business because of this unconscious thought pattern going on under the surface. Or really, it’s accurate to say I’ve played it SAFE… for fear of none other than BEING LAUGHED AT (and feeling the deeper pain of embarrassment)

Yep. This thing happened to me in the 3rd grade, that I hadn’t thought of for almost THIRTY YEARS since, has kept me playing on the safe side all these years. 

This, my friend, is the power of our BELIEFS. The funny thing is though, our beliefs don’t show up as “beliefs” … they just show up as the way things are. In other words, the lens we’re currently seeing life through is the lens we’ve *always* seen things through… and sadly, most people never realize that YOU CAN CHANGE THE LENS. 

I’m here today to tell YOU that if you don’t like what you’re seeing, you CAN change it. I’m all about that reframe! 

This is why inside of my digital programs and live events I teach our students how to recognize and stop fear based thinking patterns before they start by going back to the thing that caused the fear-based thought to begin in the first place. This helps them how to deal with uncertainty and heal from trauma.

Take someone suffering from severe anxiety in the aftermath of a traumatic event. PTSD, for example. Even though they are not physically in danger any more, there’s no denying that their BODY and their mind is interpreting these past events as traumas to avoid. That’s why for someone suffering with this, simple things like a door slamming or startling loud noise can bring them right back to where that fear first happened. And why, thinking about this trauma, can cause them to “relive” those fears, even though they are now only perceived threats. This is also why, with help, they can begin to work through the trauma -- which are causing the subsequent imagined fears after the trauma has passed -- and thus overcome the fear. Are you with me? 

So just PTSD or anxiety or fear induced by trauma that we ARE aware of, our minds will act in a similar way based on a PERCEPTION of fear -- fear induced by traumas, big or small, that we AREN’T aware of. And I use the word trauma really loosely here, ok? To your mind, it doesn’t matter if the trauma is big, or small. 

Our thinking patterns are OFTEN, not always, but very OFTEN based on a past trauma. So, it’s important to learn how to deal with uncertainty and heal from trauma. 

The problem is, that you’re not always aware of what that trauma was. And it could have even been something that seems insignificant now but was big at the time based on the lens you were looking at it through, such as your age. Or, it could have been a big T trauma -- like this coronavirus experience -- that is causing you to create coping mechanisms right now, unconsciously, in order to protect yourself from feeling this level of fear and panic and anxiety and whatever other negative emotion you might be experiencing ever again, or at least at this level. 

So, hopefully you are beginning to see why first it’s so important that we understand trauma, and how it affects us, and then second, that you’re already putting together this idea that “hm, wow, so if I can just begin to tune in and start to become aware of my unconscious thought patterns under the surface, and maybe even what triggered those in the first place, then I could really break free from a lot of the things that have been holding me back.” 

 

The things that have been unconsciously working against you, all this time that you have been working SO HARD to see results. 

 

This is why it is SO important that we lean in and do the inner work that counts. Not the busy work, not the work that keeps you spinning your wheels, but the work that will allow you to transform every single area of your life from the inside out and break free from the things that are preventing you from showing up in the world as the person you’re capable of being. The things that teach you how to deal with uncertainty and heal from trauma.

To shed those outer layers, and shine. 

Creating a new course or a new program isn’t going to solve your money issues if there’s a belief under the surface that you’re somehow not deserving of that money. 

Writing watered-down blog posts and social media posts like I did isn’t going to help you realize that dream of becoming a thought leader in your niche if you’re operating based on the belief that you don’t want to be laughed at. 

Washing the car is not going to fix the problems with the engine that are going on under the hood. 

So let’s shift this conversation a little bit because from here, it’s important that we talk about the benefits of working through all kinds of trauma -- both big T and little t, and why it’s important to heal through it. Not from it, but through it.

Yes, sometimes it means going back to take a look at those painful memories and experiences, not to relive them or harp on them or dwell on them, but to find the lessons in them that we’re meant to learn so we can heal THROUGH them. 

It means leaning into and not away from the emotions so you deal with uncertainty and heal from trauma.

Negative emotions are there to GUIDE us in the right direction. 

Except what do most people do? They push them away. 

We cry, and someone hands us a tissue. 

We vent, and someone tells us it’ll all be ok. 

We feel upset and someone says “look on the bright side, think of something positive.”

Why? Why do we push away reality? The reality that, we have a whole SPECTRUM of emotions that we are MEANT to feel, to pay attention to, and to allow to guide us. 

Why do resist feeling things

We distract ourselves with being busy, running our ineffective coping patterns, hoping that one day we’ll wake up and things will be different. All of these things don’t help us deal with uncertainty and heal from trauma. 

Well my friend, you can only wash the car so many times before it breaks down, if the engine is what needs work. 

So let’s skip the part where we waste our energy washing that car over and over and banging our head against the wall wondering why we can’t seem to get the results we want, and jump right to the part where we open the hood, take a look inside, and assess what’s really going on. 

That’s the only way you’ll know what you’re dealing with, is when you shine a light in the dark under the hood. 

As my friend Nadine said recently: Let’s be GRATEFUL for all situations that make us the most uncomfortable. Because without them we would not know there is something unhealed in us. We would not know how to deal with uncertainty and heal from trauma. 

This is why the work I do with our students and clients is so important and so different. I teach you how to heal the engine problems so you can keep going in a way that’s smart and sustainable. It’s a long game. 

And I know a lot of people will stop right here. They’ll say, yea, but I need to make money, Courtney. I need to grow my following. I need to get promoted so I can get that raise and afford a better school for my kids or put away more into my 401k or whatever. 

If this is you, it’s ok. I hear you. I was you for a long time. 

Our innate human nature is to seek safety and security. This is why comfort zones are SO hard to get out of. 

And this is also why nothing will ever change, you will always struggle, it will always feel like a fight, if you keep pushing blindly forward, doing the same things and hoping for different results. You’ll never learn how to deal with uncertainty and heal from trauma. 

The inner work is the only work that matters because it’s what helps you break free of the things that are holding you back. And I know that might SOUND scary, to take a good, honest look at your life and maybe deal with some limitations and shortcomings that you don’t want to admit to. But wouldn’t you agree that the faster you deal with these, the faster you’ll be able to heal, move forward and actually achieve the results you want faster and more effectively? 

In all of my years of experience in business, I can’t tell you that I wish I learned how to master SEO sooner. Or write killer copy sooner, or create viral video posts sooner. I CAN tell you that I wish I would have KNOWN to take a deeper look at MYSELF sooner. 

If you want to revolutionize the way you work, you first have to look at, what IS the way I’m currently working, and is that working for me? 

And don’t you worry, you do not have to go this road alone! In fact, I’d argue that you can’t. You need an outside mentor, a trusted guide, someone who is experienced in guiding people to help them recognize old limiting beliefs, trade them for new empowering ones, and heal from any of the big or little T traumas that caused them in the first place, ultimately, how to deal with uncertainty and heal from trauma.

So if you want to explore and learn how to reframe any of those unconscious beliefs that might be keeping YOU stuck, but you’re unsure of the first steps to take, I’ve got your back. This is one of the most important things I empower my students to do, so they can learn how to deal with uncertainty and heal from trauma.. So just send us a message either by email or DM me on IG so my team can reach out to you and walk you through some of the ways we can help you.

Ok! So NOW that we’ve laid the foundation, and you hopefully have a clearer understanding on how trauma affects your ability to perform in every area of your life, and can directly impact the results you’re getting, we can now really dig into this idea of “Finding your new normal” which is what we’re diving into in Part 2 of this episode. I’ll show you what you want to do in order to recover from trauma, get your mojo back, and what things to avoid that could slow you down. I will show you how to deal with uncertainty and heal from trauma.

If you haven’t realized it by now, I am ALL about giving you not just the mindset shifts that need to happen OR the practical strategy, I’m about giving you both so you can learn how to deal with uncertainty and heal from trauma. They are two sides of the same coin. Unfortunately most people teach you one without the other. I believe in empowering you with BOTH. 

It’s essential to understand the mindset piece -- without that, you won’t get very far. But then the mindset piece on it’s own is like a car without wheels or using this engine analogy I’ve been referring to so much to today, an engine with no gas. 

The practical application, or those how-to steps that we doers love so much, is what happens next. But hopefully as you can realize, how-to steps on their own are ineffective without a deeper understanding of the psychology piece at work, the mindset piece. 

They go hand in hand. 

So let’s get into the how-to piece of all this--the how to deal with uncertainty and heal from trauma.

Come with me to the next episode to learn how to deal with uncertainty and heal from trauma for good.

If you’d like all the info on how to deal with uncertainty and heal from trauma and the courses that we have available, head over to theeffortlesslife.co, for all of the information there. I appreciate you so much, I love my listeners, I love hearing what you guys have to say about the show, and as always, go forth and live your EffortLESS Life® .