76. Why it matters what you think (limiting mindsets in motherhood)

I used to be a big skeptic of limiting mindsets. I mean, how would I have a thought I’m not even aware of? And how would this thought somehow keep me stuck?

Since I have learned more about the science behind it and how our thought life is really running the show I can see this everywhere. I can see how our mindsets limit our motherhood experience, our relationships, our drive, really – everything. 


Here are the main things I have learned that have really opened my eyes to the reality and practical application of limiting mindsets.

We have conscious thoughts and subconscious thoughts. This is the iceberg with our conscious thoughts on the surface.  The majority of our daily reactions, habits, routines are coming from our subconscious thoughts – they don’t require our attention and energy.

Creating a whole network of subconscious thoughts is one of the three jobs of our brain – it keeps it efficient. If you stop and think, you can see a lot of areas of your life where you can notice the subconscious thoughts have taken over operation

The subconscious thoughts are like the program running on a computer. The program is developed through personal experience and exposure – our upbringing, our culture and our past really form a lot of subconscious thought patterns. 

The limiting mindsets are those mindsets that are subconscious – running in the background and they are disempowering you. They aren’t serving you to grow in the life you want.

It is not our brain’s job to filter out limiting mindsets from empowering mindsets – that is something we have to do on purpose. 

These mindsets matter because we SHOW UP from them. I use the CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) model in coaching and it informs us that our thoughts create our emotion and we behave differently depending on how we feel. So the reason it matters is our experience of life matters. And our experience of life (feelings and actions, and their outcomes) come from our thoughts (conscious and subconscious). 

In this episode I have some examples for you around money scarcity, kids should always obey, people don’t care about what I have to say, I’m a victim of motherhood, etc. 

Links Mentioned 

Episode 71: I let my kids do whatever they wanted for a day (abundance day)

Simplify for fall [sign up here]

The Simple on Purpose FB group [make sure to answer the entry questions]

Episode 40 : The not-enough mindset [scarcity and abundance mindset]

Enneagram 101

The Life on Purpose Academy [closed until December, sign up here to be on the waitlist]

Episode 67: Making motherhood harder than it needs to be [mom martyr]

Find Shawna on Instagram 

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why it matters what you think simple on purpose podcast

Episode Transcript

Hey friends, it’s me, Shawna, your nerdy girlfriend, and Life Coach from simpleonpurpose.ca Welcome to the simple on purpose podcast. This podcast is for the mom on the go. I aim to keep every episode under 20 minutes. And this podcast is your space. Your time to help you simplify slow down and show up for your life on purpose.

So it’s full blown fall here in BC, Canada. My husband went on another hunting trip. That’s what they’re doing up here. They’re filling up the freezers in Canada. So he went out for a hunting trip. And when he went last month as well, I did something called abundance day with my kids. You can catch that a few episodes ago where I just said yes to whatever they wanted. They called it, do whatever you want day. So I had another one for them and eat included an entire box of Halloween candy and an accessible amount of hours on the iPad playing video games. So at the end of the day, I was like, this is kind of their go to cause we’re at home. And it’s like everything I usually have restrictions around and I encourage them next time. Like think of something bigger, like think outside the box, you can do anything. Like what would you want to do?

And I know it’s kind of hard to think of when you’re just a kid. I think there’s kind of magic in repeating this experience in doing it again and again, and seeing where they take it. It’s also been helpful for me because I really take the lesson that God gives us abundant days all the time. Like we can actually do whatever we want. That’s always available to us. When I consider also back to my parenting, I feel like I can be less restrictive around, um, sugar, probably not screen time. I don’t mind having restrictions around that. We watch a lot of TV, but my kids are not on devices, rarely ever, but they do want to have sugar almost all the time. And so it’s, it’s happened more and more since the pandemic, that sugar is part of our daily life, but just watching them handle sugar on their own for a day and seeing how much and they’re paying attention to how it makes them feel.

I think that’s a really valuable lesson for them. The other thing that’s happening around here, we’re coming into fall on Monday. We are starting the simplify for fall five day free challenge. If you did that last year, it was so much fun. Five days, five simple actions you can take each day. An email comes out every morning with the daily action and we’re touching base in the Facebook group. So if you’re in the Facebook group, make sure to follow along there. I’ve also shared the link if you want to join in with us and it’s in the show notes as well, you can stop by the show notes and sign up and you will be part of that really fun challenge. It’s five actions. We’re going to be working on a paper clutter on handling some basic decluttering and just preparing a mindset and a vision for what you want your space to be used for in the season ahead. All fun, all helpful, all intentional.

All right. So I want to talk today about something that I used to be so skeptical about and it wasn’t until I learned it through life coaching and, and saw it in action that I have started to really embrace this idea of limiting mindsets over the past decade or so. We have seen a big insurgence towards self awareness. Self-introspection personal growth. These things are having a day. They are something on people’s minds. As we level up as human beings, as we meet more of our needs in our daily life, we’re getting to the next level and limiting mindsets. As part of that discussion. When I first heard the term, I was like, Oh, that’s a bunch of like woo woo nonsense. Like, hooby jooby. I don’t even know. How would I have a thought and not even know about it?

How would I have a thought and not know about it? And it’s limiting me?! Like that doesn’t even make sense. It didn’t make sense to me at all. So here’s how, here’s how it happens. Our brain has three jobs. Our brain is just so primal. It is three jobs to be efficient, to seek pleasure and avoid pain. And let’s talk about the efficiency, your brain. Our brain is like a computer. It is a computer that wants to make software that makes it effective and efficient. And that’s why we have so many habits and routines because it’s taking thoughts and reactions and storing them as habits and routines. All of this is an effort to conserve energy. When it conserves energy, we don’t have to use the big power horse power horse power house. Part of our brain that is associated with a lot of energy use.

That’s the prefrontal cortex. And you can see this happening in your life. You can, you know how, when you’re driving the same route, you always drive. And you’re like, I don’t really remember driving. Like it’s just the same route versus if you’re in the city and you’re looking for a specific address, you turn the radio down, you’re looking at everything you’re very present in that moment. So that’s a thought process of your brain has turned on like autopilot on default versus one that you have to intentionally use energy to engage, like also doing the dishes. You can do that pretty mindlessly versus if you are moving into a new home and you’re setting up a new kitchen, you’re doing it with a lot of thought and a lot of energy. So our brain has these thought processes that we don’t really have to think about, like brushing our teeth.

We don’t have to think about it. Maybe sometimes we don’t even feel fully aware and present. And maybe sometimes we’re like, Oh, I am brushing my teeth right now. Like we don’t really have to put a lot of thought into this. And the thing is, we’ve also gotten very good at thinking these things. They are our default thinking. And neuroscience has taught us that the more you think something, the more you think something, the neural pathways in your brain that that thought follows gets deeper and stronger. The more you think it, the more you think it. So this is subconscious brain is just working behind the scenes. It’s the computer running the program. A lot of people call this the iceberg. So the tip of the iceberg are the things that we’re very aware of, very present and very engaged in and underneath all that, that’s just the subconscious running the show in the background.

It’s the programming like a computer. So our brains have the software that it’s written to deal with the inputs of the environment. This is why our past shows up for us again and again. Our past is the data that our brain created the software from it’s the associations that it learned. Its hot stove is a danger. A friend says something negative. She’s going to pull away. I have to speak in public. That’s stressful and embarrassing. I’ve got to go to work. Work is boring. So there’s these associations. It’s like the predictive text on your phone. We see these they’re like auto responders in our brain. We don’t always catch them. Sometimes they’re so fast. They’re the fight or flight or freeze. They’re the first thought, where does all this come from? Where have we learned our thoughts from ever since we’ve been small, we have been adopting a view of the world.

We have been learning what to think about the world. What to think about ourselves and adopting that all it’s been handed down from our parents, from those in authority, from our culture, from our experiences. So we have this subconscious thought life happening for us and limiting beliefs are the thoughts that disempower you. Our brain doesn’t care about making our lives better. It just wants to be efficient, avoid pain and seek pleasure. So our brain doesn’t filter out the thoughts, the programming that empowers us versus ones that keeps us stuck. In fact, it will probably cling to the ones that keep us stuck because stuck is comfortable, comfortable does not require energy. Our brain would also rather be right than rewire a whole new way of thinking. Even if that thinking would improve our relationships to ourselves or our spouse or our life. But I wanna unpack this for you.

What are limiting beliefs? Here are some of mine. Some of mine that have been uncovered, um, people who have money are just lucky. Like I have had a lot of money stories around scarcity and it has definitely prevented me from actively taking control of my finances. Kids should always obey their parents. That was another one that I adopted without really realizing it until it was challenged over and over again. And parenting people don’t really want to hear what I have to say. I’m an Enneagram type nine. This is a pretty common limiting belief we have. And let me say this podcast is a form of therapy for me in addressing that limiting belief. Another one that a lot of us have that we don’t realize is if I’m a good person, the good things will happen to me. And there are so many flaws with this one, not to mention the prosperity gospel it’s peddling, but we often don’t notice our limiting beliefs.

I know I don’t always until I hear them voiced by someone and til they’re pointed out. And then it feels like an aha moment. Like, Oh, I actually, I do believe that like, how is that affecting me? And here’s the next step. So maybe you’ve gotten this far and you can agree like, okay, there’s a subconscious thought life. Why does that even matter? Why do these things matter? They matter because these things keep you stuck in status quo in mediocrity, in right where you are, but how, how does it do that? That has been the part that has really changed my views on limiting mindsets. So if you have been around this podcast for a while, if you’re a coaching client of mine, if you are coaching with me in the life on purpose Academy, you know that I coach with the CBT model, that is the cognitive behavioral therapy model and different coaches and therapists use different verbiage, but it’s all the same framework.

And Brooke Castillo is a person, a coach, who has really established this framework for many coaches who are using it. So you can even write this down as we’re talking about it. This is how the CBT model works. A situation happens, from there we tell ourselves a story. We tell ourselves a story about what it means. It’s our thoughts, both conscious and subconscious. And then those thoughts. They trigger an emotion in us. We spend a lot of time wondering where our emotions come from. They come from the thought that we’re having. And then how do we act from these thoughts? We take action or non-action depending on how we feel and all of the action that we’ve taken is going to give us an outcome. So that is the flow. Now, like I said, most of us just focus on our emotions. We feel sad, unmotivated, angry, generous, and patient.

And we’re just showing up in our day to day, trying to handle these emotions. We aren’t generally dialing it back a notch to the thoughts behind these things. And if we aren’t doing this, we aren’t really able to gain the traction over our emotions and our actions. So this is one thing that had kept me stuck is I focus so much on feelings and I thought the thoughts would be so obvious that I wasn’t seeing that there are subconscious thoughts about why I’m upset, why I’m angry, why I’m not motivated, why I keep self-sabotaging. And if I wanted to change my experience of my life, I had to address things at a thought level. And that takes time. It takes time to uncover the programming. That’s running in the background.

As an aside, I know this is a big reason why affirmations generally don’t work for people. You can’t put a positive conscious affirmation on a negative subconscious belief. Your subconscious is not going to buy what your conscious mind is. Just trying to put on top of it. But what made the big difference is seeing how’s this plays out with some examples. So I want to give you a couple of examples here.

A few years ago, I was coaching a mom who wanted to make a lot of changes in her life. And she talked about her kids and what she has to do for them. And she wakes up every morning, just feeling resentful already. I asked her if she felt like a victim of her life and she was quiet and just started crying. And she told me she didn’t even realize it before she was even out of bed. The programming was running, I’m a victim. And then she felt helpless and resentful and spend her whole day acting from this place.

Because how do you act when you’re feeling resentful in motherhood? How do you act when you feel empowered in motherhood. And like I’ve been there. This is a subconscious story that runs the show, impacting how we show up. And if you remember my episode on being a mom martyr, go check that out. I’ll put that in the show notes.

Or how about our relationship to following our dreams? This has been one that I’ve been on a journey on for a good decade, but I was raised to take the safe route. Don’t take the risk. Things are up to luck and we probably don’t have any luck. This mindset. It left me feeling like an imposter, unworthy, a total lack of confidence. And so that’s where I acted from, I would substitute my dreams for something more watered down and safe. Again, I didn’t realize this was a limiting mindset until I really started paying attention to what I was feeling and why I was feeling that and getting someone to, to point out these things, to me, to point out what was happening in my brain that I couldn’t see.

It’s like when you’re driving in the car and someone’s honking their horn at you and they’re like, your gas cap’s open or, or your tires flat, like you can’t see these things from the inside of the car. Sometimes you need someone on the outside looking in. So again, a limiting mindset, it’s a subconscious programming. It’s a thought that we’ve adopted somewhere along our life. And it is disempowering us. It’s kind of keeping us stuck in the Life on Purpose Academy. We call these thought traps. They keep you where you are. There’s a lot of tension rubbing up against them, but they feel really true unnecessary.

And that’s the work isn’t. It is seeing them and unpacking them, challenging them and adopting new ones, practicing those new ones. It’s all hard work. It’s all hard work. Your brain doesn’t want to do so you have to be very intentional about it.

You have to do it on purpose. I hope this has been helpful for you. I hope that you can now pay a little bit more attention to how you’re feeling, what you might be thinking and how it’s showing up in real time in your life. And probably keeping you stuck in some way, because limiting mindsets, they sound like something very new age, very out of reach for some people. But, but they’re real. And they’re showing up whether you’re a mom at home or whether you’re an Olympian athlete, like we all deal with the subconscious thoughts that are playing out in our lives. So I hope this empowers you because if you are feeling stuck, if you are feeling like you want to move forward, you want to level up. You want more, you want different. That is available to you. I’ve seen it happen in my client’s lives.

I’ve seen it happen in my own life. I know that that is available to you. Let’s dial it back and find out what limiting thoughts are, keeping you there. All right, mama, if you have enjoyed this podcast, please leave me a rating and review in iTunes. They matter to iTunes. They help me just show up in the search feed. And I also love to see your faces. I can’t see all the ratings and reviews in different countries, but if you are an Instagram, take a screenshot of the podcast and share it there. Tag me in it. I’m at simple on purpose.ca because I love to know who’s listening. I love to connect with you guys. I love to hear from you guys. So find me on Instagram, send me a message. Tell me what has been helpful for you, what you would like to hear more shows on. And I am here for you, your nerdy girlfriend and your life coach reminding you that you can simplify slow down and show up…on purpose!

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