(If you’re new to this blog, I’m a huge fan of personal development and freelance business podcasts. You can find a list of my most recommended podcasts here.)
I recently started listening to Natalie Bacon’s podcast, Design Your Dream Life, and am absolutely loving it.
Who is Natalie Bacon?
Natalie Bacon – Design Your Dream Life
For those of you who don’t know, Natalie Bacon is a former lawyer turned certified financial planner who left the corporate world to build her own 6-figure business helping high-achieving women design the life they’ve always wanted.
Not only is Natalie a successful online entrepreneur, she recently became certified as a life coach after undergoing training with the wildly successful master coach, Brooke Castillo, of The Life Coach School.
I love Natalie because she is passionate in her belief that anyone can create the success they want if they are driven, resilient and, most importantly, committed to the thought work required to achieve their highest potential.
Each week on her Design Your Dream Life podcast, Natalie shares a tool or lesson that she used to build her own business to six figures. She attributes much of her meteoric business success to the intentional mindset work she did just before launching her business with tools or concepts she learned from her mentor, Brooke Castillo.
As an avid fan of Brooke Castillo’s The Life Coach School podcast, I was already familiar with her infamous thought Model (also called Self-Coaching Model) – CTFAR – the foundation for all of her teachings.
If you’ve never heard of the CTFAR model before, I strongly encourage you to go to Brooke Castillo’s website and download her free guide. It’s a seven page document that explains the concept in detail, gives examples on how to correctly apply it in real world situations, and, most importantly, teaches how to use the Model in your daily life to help solve any problem (weight loss, finances, relationships, business, work issues, alcohol or drug dependence, etc.)
If you’re a podcast junkie like me, then you can learn more about the Model in Brooke Castillo’s The Life Coach School podcast — specifically, in episodes 26, 72, 83, 157, 232, 262, and 274.
For this post, though, I will break down the Model the best I can.
Brooke Castillo’s Thought Model
Before I go further, Brooke would be the first to say the idea behind her thought Model is not original.
We’ve known since ancient times that humans are emotional beings, and that our emotions are what drive our actions — sometimes with disastrous results.
And what causes our emotions? The meaning or thoughts we attach to any given circumstance.
The idea of changing our thoughts to invoke new emotions to bring about different results is steeped in ancient wisdom. In fact, it’s the basis for cognitive behavioral therapy.
But while Brooke Castillo didn’t invent the concept, she did develop a universal “formula” for using these age-old principles to re-train our brain so that our thoughts serve us, rather than work against us.
The basic premise of the Model is that your thoughts create your feelings, your feelings create your actions, and your actions create your results.
CIRCUMSTANCES → THOUGHTS → FEELINGS → ACTIONS → RESULTS
This is my understanding of the Model:
Circumstances in life are neutral. Life’s happenings are neither positive or negative. They only become one or the other when we attach a positive or negative meaning to the neutral circumstance.
Circumstances (which are neutral) cause our thoughts.
Thoughts are our beliefs about the neutral circumstance (e.g., the sentences we tell ourselves about the neutral circumstance).
These thoughts drive our feelings.
Feelings are “vibrations” in our body caused by our thoughts.
Feelings drive our actions (or inaction).
Our results are the “effect” of our actions or inaction.
In other words, if you don’t like the results you’re getting, you need to change your thinking.
How can you tell if your thoughts are serving you?
Look at your life. Your thoughts created how you’re living right now.
If you’re not happy with your life, there’s great news. You’re not stuck. You can transform your life by changing how you think and aligning your new thoughts with your desired result.
Let’s go back to Natalie Bacon.
How Changing Her Thoughts Transformed Natalie Bacon’s Life
When this concept sunk in for Natalie, she looked around her crappy apartment in Ohio and realized that her thinking had created everything in her life, including where she was living.
That was not how she had envisioned her life.
A year later, she’s loving her life in her fabulous new apartment in Chicago where she runs a six-figure business that she’s passionate about.
And she finds it so fascinating that she literally created her new life by being super intentional with her thoughts.
Natalie’s new goal is to scale her business to seven figures. To become someone who creates a million dollar business, she’s had to go back to her thoughts to make sure they’re in alignment with the new result she wants to achieve.
How? By running it through the Model.
Someone who makes seven figures thinks, feels and acts differently than someone who makes six figures. So to achieve the desired result of creating a seven figure income, Natalie had to adopt the mindset of someone who’s already making seven figures.
Again, her new thoughts cause her new feelings which drive her new actions, the effect of which will result in a million-dollar year for her business.
Natalie has seen her business explode, and she has no doubt that she will get to seven figures soon.
Is it hard?
Natalie does not pull punches. She acknowledges on her podcast that the journey is exciting but hard and super uncomfortable at times. You have to be uber resilient, willing to feel all the negative, scary emotions and not be afraid to fail, time and again.
You have to be all in.
For Natalie, there’s no Plan B. There’s only Plan A. And if Plan A fails, then there’s the next Plan A, and the next Plan A, and the next Plan A.
But Natalie says the journey is what makes the end result all the more beautiful — knowing that you worked hard and never gave up.
You earned it.
Using the Model to Transform Your Daily Life
If our thoughts create our feelings (emotions), and our feelings drive our actions (behavior), and our actions dictate our results, then if we want different results, we have to replace the thoughts that aren’t serving us with thoughts that do — thoughts that conjure up the feelings we need to feel to take the action we need to take to get the results we want to have.
If you’re new to this concept, it can seem confusing and overwhelming.
Once you truly understand the Model, though, and work hard to apply the steps, it’s a game changer.
But it takes practice. A lot of practice.
I’m not talking just day-to-day. In the beginning, it’s more like thought-by-thought, especially for those of us who’ve spent years developing negative and debilitating thought loops.
Think about it.
If the average person thinks up to 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day, it’s easy to see how incredibly destructive our thoughts can be.
On the other hand, if we commit to watching our thoughts, and are intentional and diligent about choosing thoughts that serve us, think how powerful our thoughts would be.
I’m beyond ready to transform my life. How about you?
Until next time,
Photo credit: Brodie Vissers via Burst