Nancy has a Masters Degree in Higher Education and in Community Counseling from the University of Dayton. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor with eleven years in private practice and has spent 20+ years working as a counselor/coach. She has written three books on living happier, most notably The Happier Approach: Be Kind to Yourself, Feel Happier and Still Accomplish Your Goals. A certified Myers-Briggs®, Strong Career Assessments®, and Daring Way™ Facilitator, Nancy has brought her light-hearted, practical speaking style to corporations and nonprofits as both a keynote and workshop facilitator like the Bailey Cavalieri Law Firm, CASA of Central Ohio, Wallick Communities and the NAWBO Bradyware Visionary Leadership Conference.
Here are takeaways from our conversation:
THE MONGER, BFF, BIGGEST FAN
Nancy has developed her own language around the ways in which we talk to ourselves.
- The Monger is the voice of our inner critic; this voice inside of us can be our worst enemy because it is the voice of shame and belittling. The three rules your monger convinces you to believe is 1) don’t make a mistake 2) don’t be too vulnerable 3) don’t stand out
- The BFF is the false self-compassion; this voice convinces you to binge on three glasses of wine or binge on Netflix all day because you deserve it. You can blame your problems on other people. The BFF has your back and can justify anything, no matter what.
- The Biggest Fan takes the best traits of both- this voice doesn’t want bad things to happen to you and is kind to you, and also wants to help push you forward.
WHEN IN DOUBT, JUST ASK
A: Acknowledge your feelings
We have a lot of messages around anxiety like, “I shouldn’t be feeling this way.” We have a lot of shame around our real feelings and don’t want to deal with the real feelings. We just want to be happy and we ignore all the other feelings. Once we realize what we really feel and explore it, we go into ourselves which can bring a sense of relief to us because we don’t have to try so hard not to feel our feelings; rather, we can embrace them.
S: Slow down and get into your body
Nancy believes in doing full body movements, which can help you to get out of your head. Wiggle your fingers or toes, do a dance, move your body in a while that feels good, etc.
K: Kindly pull back to see the big picture.
Our ‘Mongers’ and ‘BFFs’” keep us stuck in black and white thinking. If we can get out of our black and white thinking and see other options available for a situation, then the Biggest Fan can step in and see the problem in a different way.
MEDITATION FOR DUMMIES
Despite knowing all the wonderful evidence around meditation, not everyone can do it. Nancy felt like she couldn’t meditate. She started to condition herself- for example, she had a sticky note at a stop sign that encouraged her to take three deep big breaths. The more we can bring ourselves to the moment so we can identify our thoughts. We tie so much meaning to our thoughts, especially from the Monger and the BFF. If we can pay attention to the present moment and become aware of our thoughts, we can separate ourselves from our thoughts.
MAKE LITTLE CHANGES
Change happens by recognizing one little thing that you can focus on instead of trying to take on too much change to be perfect, which is something the Monger may convince you to do (the perfectionist is the Monger!). Setting unrealistic expectations around change and trying to make too many things happen will set you up for failure.
The Biggest Fan will help you make attainable and small changes in the right direction. For example, if you set yourself up to exercise for 60 minutes a day and you’ve never exercised before, the Biggest Fan won’t let you off the hook or shame/belittle you into doing exercise. Rather, the Biggest Fan is your problem-solver to help you make a plan for 10 minutes a day until you can build up your tolerance and feel successful.
When you’re comparing yourself to others, it can be easy to be caught up in the belief that your self-worth is less than. A helpful exercise Nancy suggests to write down your top five values in life. What are your values? Do your commitments reflect your values?
USE GRATITUDE WISELY
Gratitude is a great tool; however, Nancy believes it’s better to go deeper and more specific rather than being vague and general. She will go throughout the day and be intentional about finding things that happened that she’s grateful for that she will later recall. Gratitude shouldn’t be used as a way to whitewash negative things. It’s ok to be frustrated with your job and dislike your manager; however, is there some aspect of your job for which you are grateful for?
Nancy also loves the Five Senses Meditation that she can use at any part in the day. This meditation brings you into the moment and you can connect with the present and live with the good, bad, and ugly.