With the holidays coming up, Change Proof Podcast releases a special holiday episode! Today, #1 WSJ bestselling author, resilience keynote speaker, resilience researcher, workplace expert, CEO & attorney, and Change Proof Podcast host Adam Markel shares his experiences throughout the years as a podcast interviewer and a human being and talks about concerns about the human heart, mind, and world. Full of honest reflections and discussions on emotions, challenges, and resiliency, this lighthearted will be sure to add meaning to your holiday cheer!
- 01:42 The holidays: a time of great joy, great challenge, or both
- 05:56 Change Proof: what it means to develop resilience
- 11:35 The collective evolution (advancing beyond regression)
- 17:17 Emotions are dangerous, or are they?
- 30:38 We’re all baked the same way, built the same way, and wired the same way
- 35:45 What change proof loves, and is really all about
- 40:27 Awareness changes the game
How do we leverage continuous uncertainty to thrive in this unprecedented new world?
The answer is to build the resilience we need to power us through the challenges we face so that we become “Change Proof.” Prepare to tackle the future with confidence by reading Adam’s latest book Change Proof: Leveraging the Power of Uncertainty to Build Long-Term Resilience.
Watch the episode here
Listen to the podcast here
The Human Experience: Spirit Of The Holidays, Personal Challenges, And More (Special Holiday Solocast)
I’m going to be the guest in this episode. I’m going to sit in the hot seat myself and maybe interview myself. I imagine some of the questions, concerns and things that are on your mind, your heart or wherever it is in the world that you are consuming this. Whether you’re riding in a car, walking, running, in the gym, at the office or lying-in bed. Wherever it is that you’re reading, I imagine that we are collaborating on the content for this episode. It’s going to be a shorter version because it’s a solo cast.
Typically, when I’m interviewing someone, I don’t even know where the time goes. We target 30 to 40 minutes and sometimes it goes a little bit longer. The conversations are interesting. It is unexpected and we don’t plan for where those discussions lead. We follow the breadcrumbs. We let things unfold naturally and organically so they tend to go a little bit longer. I have a sense of the things that are in my heart to share with you.
The Holidays: A Time Of Great Joy, Great Challenge, Or Both
For many of us, the holidays are both wonderful times. They can be a time of great joy. I know that’s the intention and what’s behind the gatherings and celebrations that occur at this time of the year but it’s also a time of challenge for folks. It has been for me in the past as well, challenges in many forms. It could be that being around family trigger old emotions and create and leave a space for reliving some past hurts or traumas, things in the past that have caused us some level of pain.
Arguments can spring up. No matter how far along the path we are, as soon as we get in the presence of people that know us from the time when we were kids, we tend to sometimes act like kids or they act like kids and then it triggers us to respond in a very like manner. It can feel like a regressive time as much as we look forward to the company of people from the past, people that we love, friends, family, close family and intimate loved ones.
It can bring us to a place where we go, “I thought I was past that. I thought I forgave those things or have moved to a place where I’m more mature and I’m less reactive and able to take a breath and pause before I speak or respond to something.” Yet, in the moments that we are surrounded by those people that we know for many years, we become little kids again or what we might think of as a former version of ourselves that we left behind and have evolved beyond.
I can think back to prior gatherings in my family and household with my parents and other members of my family where I became that angry twenty-something-year-old that I was not so long ago but a while ago. It’s not that I can’t remember that person. It’s that I don’t live that way. I don’t live like that person regularly or on a routine basis anymore. Yet, that person is still inside of me. It’s remarkable that all of the earlier versions are still inside of me.
It’s like if we were to pick up our cell phones. Maybe we’re up to version 13 or version 14 of an operating system or a piece of hardware, a computer or something else. Yet, once you update that software on that cell phone for example, the earlier version I believe isn’t there anymore. It’s not like you’re going to get that old screen or some of the features will slow down or disappear because the earlier versions didn’t have them or the camera isn’t as sharp and the resolution is not as clear.
That’s not the case. You update the phone or software on your computer and the earlier version has been overwritten by that newer software. It is not the way our operating system works. It would be nice if I could say this is an analogous situation and we’re very much like the way our software runs but we’re not. This is something that I cover pretty extensively in the book that came out, Change Proof.
Change Proof: What It Means To Develop Resilience
We talked about our change-proof software and change-proof hardware and what it means to develop resilience and resiliency. The fact of the matter is that all of the earlier versions of us, the V.1, V.26, V.27, V.33 or V.57 that you might be up to are part of us. They’re inside of us. They’re in our cellular DNA, the cellular memory. It was Edison that said, “All cells think.” That is quite a statement let alone 100 years ago to think that our cells have a memory that can think and recall instantly what we were previously thinking or experiencing.
That’s why certain things can trigger us and bring us back to that moment. We think, “How on earth is it that I could be the age I am at, yet something that I experienced when I was 7, 11 or 16 years old is fresh in my cellular memory at the moment when triggered?” It can be triggered by a person’s voice or the tone of their voice, by a smell or something that we associate with a prior memory. Music often is the case. Music can bring us back. It’s one of those wonderful things. It’s like a magic carpet that transports us.
I’m a massive lover and fan of music for the purpose and reason that it can take and transport us consciously. I’m talking about the times when we’re around people in the holidays unconsciously without our choosing and deciding to re-experience something that caused us discomfort previously. When someone says something or something’s being cooked and we smell the same smell or the music that’s playing is playing again, it brings us back to that moment in time when someone speaks to us with a tone that brings us back to that prior time in our lives.
It’s as if no time has elapsed at all and our evolution never occurred. It’s like time-traveling back to eight years old and then you’re there feeling it, experiencing it, reliving it in many ways and reacting in similar ways to the way that you did then. When that was occurring at that time, maybe you were even silent because you didn’t have a voice to respond, react, object, defend or protect yourself.
All of a sudden, it’s as if you’re reliving it. This is the moment in time when you’re finally doing something about it. You can feel all of that as I’m explaining. It can be so draining and exhausting emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. It’s something that can take us to a dark place and leave us flat on our backs for longer than a moment.
I want you to know that we understand. Collectively in humanity, we all have experienced this and do experience it. On some level, we get it. I want you to know that I get it and I’m saying to you that I hear that. I see that in my experience. It’s universal. I see and hear it in yours. I hope this does not ring hollow in any way that I am holding space on what we’ll talk about in the next moment, what we do ahead of that or even if it’s already occurred.
The Collective Evolution (Advancing Beyond Regression)
I’m holding space not just for every one of you. I so appreciate that you are a part of our community reading this. In my practice, in the morning when I’m conscious of it like I am in this moment, I’m holding that space for everyone in our entire world, our universe, all humanity, living things and creations. This is a part of a collective evolution in that we learn how to advance beyond that place where we regress.
Regression is not a bad thing. It’s not a thing that you can’t handle. You are already resilient. In the world that we do in speaking here and elsewhere where I’m privileged to be on stages and speak to audiences mostly of business leaders and organizations, I hope that this work is making a difference. It’s made a difference for me, the people that I get to see and follow up with and the people who’ve taken our resilient leaders assessment, things like that where we get to see the tangible ripple effect of it.
At this moment, we have choices to evolve beyond and do better than we have, myself, first and foremost, and as a collective society, community, world and universe. I have a sense for me of what doing better looks like. Part of what I wanted to do was to share in this format some of what has worked for me to become more resilient mentally, emotionally, physically and even spiritually. When I say spiritually, I mean the practices that help me to feel aligned inside, whole, congruent and on purpose.
We regress in many ways because it’s our habit to regress. That habit has been perpetual. It’s been with us. It was formed early on in life and has continued to perpetuate itself over time, which is why it should be no great surprise and no wonder that when we get into environments that trigger us and gives us an opportunity to regress, we go there very easily and almost instantly.We regress in many ways because it is our habit to regress. Click To Tweet
Our cells have a memory and that memory when activated, it’s like no time or space has elapsed. You’re right back in the thick of it. “What can we do about it,” is the question I’m getting and the one that I would imagine you’re asking yourself. That’s the one that I want to answer or provide some opportunity for an answer.
We have this habit of repressing our emotions. I’ll give you a great example that I read of a child at an age 1 plus years old or 12, 13, 14 months old that was carrying on having fits and tantrums. We all don’t remember what we were like when we used to be a baby, an infant or a toddler when we’d have these fits but we’ve seen a kid have a tantrum.
In this family, when this was going on, it was very disruptive and disturbing. The parents didn’t know what to do so they asked someone for advice. That person said, “Take some ice water and spray it in the child’s face when they’re having one of these out-of-control tantrums. See what happens. It should stop.” That’s what they did. They sprayed cold water in the face of this child every time the child was having a fit or a tantrum. Sure enough, it worked. The kid stopped having these tantrums because the cold water in the face was worse than whatever that child was experiencing at the moment that was causing the tantrum.
The issue with that is as that child grows up feeling emotions like anger, sadness, frustration, resentment and anxiety, they learn that those emotions have an unwelcome consequence. They repress those emotions from what was learned and imparted early on. Not all of us have had that experience. Most of us haven’t ever experienced that.
The Effect Of Habitual Repression Of Emotions
It is a very common part of the human experience to see emotions as dangerous. Many in our world like our homes with our families and the places where we go to school, we learned about sadness, anger and outbursts. We were trying to express our emotions but were not met with a great deal of patience and acceptance.It is a very common part of the human experience to see emotions as dangerous. Click To Tweet
We’re often in many households and schools met with the equivalent of that cold water in the face, whether it was somebody that told you to shut it down, placed you in timeout, put you in the corner or did other things. There was physicality involved when a tantrum was happening like when you were carrying on or expressing yourself in some way because there was something that you were feeling that felt bad.
It was seeking some expression. When we were shown to express ourselves in that way and was not acceptable so then we stopped doing it. Often, we see this with folks who are high achievers, people that are perfectionists, people that want to do the right thing or people that want to succeed in their lives and business pursuits, also in their pursuits as parents and partners. Often people that are looking to accomplish much in life and are very hard on themselves are the kind of people that repress their emotions even more than others.
One of the things that we learn is that by not showing our emotions, we’re better able to cope. Like that child that’s having a tantrum, that 14-year-old that’s acting out in class, that 20-year-old that’s skipping class or driving after having been drinking or any of the other behaviors that we see. In life with stress and pressures, whether you’re in school, work or home or dealing with other people, the best thing that you can do to cope is to keep your emotions in check so that people can’t see them.
The bad emotions that make you feel as though you’re out of control are dangerous so they should be kept away in the long run. What that habitual repression of our emotions does is it creates this opportunity for those difficult feelings that we repressed for so long that we don’t even recognize that they’re there. They’re not even something that we’re conscious about. We’re angry or have resentment about something.
It could be someone that has children and those children take so much time and effort to take care of. You wouldn’t ever imagine a parent that loves their child or loves their children who take such good care and is a perfectionist about that is so intent on doing that job well. With all that pressure to do that, underneath it is a layer of resentment or anger even at those children for the fact that so much has to be given to them in the pursuit of being that perfect parent.
There are so many examples where this shows up. Over the course of many years, we learn. It’s a life skill to tamp our emotions down below the surface. What happens is those subconscious emotions we’re not in touch with anymore seek to express themselves. What happens is our mind seeks to defend ourselves and keep those things hidden from view. The way that often manifests is that we become physically unwell.
Some things happen physically to us that are more the result of these emotions that have long been repressed and suppressed. To keep us from feeling those emotions, we need a great defense mechanism and a great distraction. Often, those distractions manifest in things like backaches, lower backache, shoulder pain, headaches, migraines, skin issues like psoriasis or other things that are skin related, stomach challenges like irritable bowel syndrome or ulcers, which we don’t hear much of because of the medicines that are easily given for those things to make those symptoms go away or heartburn. Things like that physically are happening, which we will attribute to something else like an injury.
I went surfing and I threw my back out or I got a back spasm that incapacitated me for a few hours or a few days. It’s the result of having not stretched or lifted something in the wrong way or overtaxing myself. There are so many excuses that we make for the physical challenges that we sometimes experience. What I’ve come to understand is that in so many ways, those physical things that we’re experiencing are a reflection of something that’s below the surface and outside of our view and awareness at times, which can be those repressed emotions of anger and anxiety from the past.
I say this in connection with all of us being in this holiday season and mode. Some of you are going to be around people and that earlier version of you can be triggered in some way to go back as if no time had occurred. Some of you may not even be in the presence of other people and will feel loneliness, longing and loss from the people who you are not around or the people that are no longer here to be around.
It’s a time when a lot of that stored emotion and can pop up. If our bodies are adept as a defense mechanism at creating other issues for us to deal with as a distraction so that we don’t have to deal with those things, we can get ourselves off on the wrong foot to start this brand-new year. We don’t need more challenges in the midst of everything that’s happening in the world, our personal lives, politics, society and business. We have to be at our best. We have to be the most resilient ongoingly.
There’s not that much that is truly known as much as science has advanced beyond much of what anybody could have ever imagined. We still don’t understand the mind-body connection. When we talk about resilience in a business context, I talk about it as something that’s not one thing. It’s mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. It’s the interconnection of those things. It’s not that they’re in four different compartments like silos. It’s silly. They’re integrated. It’s this Venn diagram. This overlaps all of those things in how they interplay and interconnect.
I thought that we’re in this time of year which is beautiful and amazing if you feel those emotions come up or whatever it might be, beyond the lookout for anger, anxiousness, feelings of angst and resentment. Be with those things as they come up. A lot of this is truly subconscious so it could be that you won’t be feeling some of those things consciously but all of a sudden, your shoulder will bother you, your back will feel like it’s going out, you’ll have a sciatic spasm or pain down your leg or you’ll get a rash.
The body has become adept at this distraction and these emotions that we’ve learned to repress and have repressed. They don’t come to the surface and get dealt with. That’s why our cells, which retain these memories continue to be operative in an instant when we are triggered. For the end of 2022 and the beginning of a brand new one, I would wish that we would all as individuals and society become less triggered. Rather we deal with our emotions. We give them what they want which is simply our presence and attention.
At that moment when we can give them that attention and presence, we have the opportunity to integrate them. When that happens, there won’t be a need for a backache because there wasn’t a structural or physical issue, to begin with. Psychologically speaking, there’s an issue. If it’s not being dealt with at that level of emotion and thought consciousness, it’s dealt with differently. That’s one of the things that we can do as a powerful tool.
I recommend a few books that are powerful in this area. I am so much a product of the work of other people, what I’ve read, come to understand and practice. To read things and have an intellectual understanding of things is of almost no value if we don’t put these things into practice, don’t work with them, experience them or feel them. That’s anything other than head knowledge, which is very limited in its value to us.
Some of the books that I recommend is by Hale Dwoskin, The Sedona Method. He’s got a simple process for letting go of emotions. It’s wonderful. I highly recommend that. Also, The Presence Process by Michael Brown. It’s one of my all-time favorite books when I do some executive coaching. Executives are leaders like a CEO or CFO.
We’re All Baked The Same Way
It doesn’t matter what your position or experience is. If you’re an engineer, an architect, a lawyer, a doctor or an accountant, it doesn’t matter. It’s the head knowledge. We’re all baked, built and wired the same way. The Presence Process is a book that I will use in many ways like in a collaboration with another individual that’s looking to find a new insight in some way, shape or form because there are blind spots that they are unaware of.
That’s the case. There wouldn’t be blind spots if we knew they were there. It’s the things that we don’t see that are both the greatest opportunities for ourselves and our growth. It’s sometimes the greatest impediment to that growth. There’s a book called Healing Back Pain by John Sarno MD. It’s a book that explores the mind-body connection, which is so little understood but remarkable. There’s a little of it that’s a part of medical school or medical training.
It’s lacking in so many disciplines. There’s some open fertile ground for us to plant new seeds in but we’ve got to understand and become aware. Awareness is the key. It’s the catalyst and the first domino. It’s the thing that eventually becomes this momentous thing when we simply begin with awareness. It’s the procession that Buckminster Fuller spoke about, the ripple effect in other words. John Sarno MD’s book is phenomenal. Also, Michael Singer, The Untethered Soul. It’s a great book that many people have read and heard of since Oprah Winfrey was a big fan of Michael Singer’s work and I am too.
I wanted to use this opportunity to wish you a wonderful end to 2022. This has been a phenomenal year for many of us. It’s also been a year filled with great challenges, choices and opportunities to choose. That’s the thing. We always have this grand opportunity in every single moment to do the only thing that we’re ever required to do and that is to get this moment right to make the right decisions but we can’t make the right decisions if we don’t think rightly.
The book that guides me in right thinking daily is a book by Emmet Fox called Around the Year with Emmet Fox. It is a book that I’ve been using for many years in my life. It starts with my morning practice and rising ritual as my daughter Chelsea would say it sets me off on the right foot. My grandmother used to say, “Start the day on the right foot.” That’s what that book helps me to do.
It was a part of what led to my “I love my life” practice, the one that I was so fortunate enough to be able to share on a TEDx stage a couple of years ago. It has guided me every day for a very long time. Emmet Fox is a meta physician but is no longer with us. He died in the ‘50s. He was a brilliant man, thinker and writer. He was somebody that is able to interpret things that are so important in our lives. He can create these magical moments in his writing. It’s mystical too. I have this thing for mysticism at this point in my life.
What Change Proof Loves, And Is Really All About
I wanted to say how much our company, More Love Media, loves what we do. It loves the fact that we get to interact in the way that we do with all of you. If you have not shared a comment with us, we would love to hear it from you. You can go to AdamMarkel.com/Podcast and leave a comment there. I promise that we don’t have a bot for this so it will be me who will respond to those comments. If what this conversation turned into, it is something that would help somebody other than yourself but would help another in your life, a friend, a family member, a child or one of your adult children or soon-to-be adult children.
Feel free to share it with them. That helps us to get this ripple effect and procession when others are sharing the message. Leaving a review is always welcome. We love those five-star reviews, whatever it is. Whether you’re consuming this on Apple or some other platform, we appreciate it. It’s helpful because it helps the algorithm to put the work in front of other people that might also have an appetite for this work, whether you’re a business leader, a farmer or a person who’s focused exclusively on your family. If you’re someone who stays at home and takes care of your kids, maybe you work as well and juggle those things, there’s so much that we’re all doing. We’re all very much in the same boat.
I don’t see a lot of people who aren’t working hard. This is not about that. I don’t see laziness. People think they’re lazy. They worry about their tendency to be lazy. I don’t think that’s the greater issue. We have to recognize that we are being depleted not through the work that we do but through all of the things coinciding in our world. There’s so much that’s happening. We’re consuming so much in our space that we can’t help but feel it because we’re empathetic beings. We all have that aspect of the impact in us. We feel it. We’re not immune. We don’t have the tortoiseshell or rhino skin.
We feel it. It’s depleting. It exhausts us. It creates anxiety. We don’t even know where that’s coming from or what that’s about but hopefully what we’re able to cover here gives you a sense of the fact that sometimes the best thing that you can do is to be more conscious of what’s happening in the subconscious. What has been repressed like feelings of anger, resentment or anxiety about things that we can handle and deal with.The best thing that one can do is to actually be more conscious of what is happening in the subconscious. Click To Tweet
When we do that, then we are healthier as a result physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. That resilience enables us to have more energy to deal with the challenges, opportunities, beauty and wonder of it all. That’s the promise of it. We want to have more capacity to be more, do more and have more. We need the energy to do that to be leaders of ourselves and others. We have to have this greater capacity and ability to have energy instantly and be able to use it in a positive way and in a way that ultimately enables who we are in the world to be a positive influence on others around us.
Awareness Changes The Game
With that, I want to say thank you again. Thanks so much for taking the time to consume some of the episodes here. If you are curious about your level of resilience, it’s cool. You could do this before and after the holidays if you want to check out and see the difference. That’s one of those things. We can see the improvement or where it is that we have challenges and work still to do. It is that level of awareness that changes the game. To get your resilience score for free, it takes 3 to 4 minutes. That’s the best part. That’s by going to RankMyResilience.com. It has sixteen questions. You’ll be set in the sense that you’ll know your baseline score in those four distinct areas, the interplay and what things you can do for yourself to develop resilience.
I am a product of my resilience rituals every day. I’ve had half a dozen that I am doing every single day, moving back and forth between my on button and off button or switch. Sometimes my rituals take 10 seconds or 60 seconds. They could be as simple as rubbing my ears or giving my ears a little massage. One of the reasons that I do that is for my brain hygiene. It sounds funny but what happens is that our brains very much are in need of new stimuli, unique experiences and things that are out of the ordinary. Most of us don’t even touch our ears throughout the day.
When I do that, my brain activates. The dendrites in my brain and neuro pathways are lit up because I am giving them something that is nourishing to my brain hygiene. It’s that one little thing that I can do even while I’m doing an episode. There are so many different rituals. When you take your assessment, not only will you get your score but you’ll get some of those examples of things that you can do to develop greater resilience for yourself and give permission to others around you to do the same. With that, I want to say Happy New Year. I hope all is well with you in your world with your families and friends. That is my everlasting prayer for all of us. We continue to do better today than yesterday and the same for tomorrow. Ciao for now. Be blessed. We’ll see you soon.
- Change Proof
- The Sedona Method
- The Presence Process
- Healing Back Pain
- The Untethered Soul
- Around the Year with Emmet Fox