Episode 015: Taking Value-Based, Committed Action In The Presence Of Unwanted Thoughts & Feelings – with Mark Austin

Taking action in the direction of your perfect life is bloody hard, when we have emotional troubles, negative thoughts and unhelpful feelings standing in our way… all of which lead to procrastination, lack of self-belief and a whole host of other things. In this episode, Mark Austin shares his strategies for accepting and dealing with those unwanted thoughts, so that you can blast forward towards your goals.



The Show Notes

Mark, tell us a bit about how you got to where you are right now…

  • I have been self employed for 25 years so I needed internal structure
  • I was achieving what I thought was the highest level of success, travelling the world with passive income
  • I licensed my software business out to clients
  • I couldn't understand why these clients were not taking action with this amazing opportunity
  • I had a feeling that I was going to destroy all I had created and throw away all the money I had earned
  • Eventually I realised I had to turn pro, so I made a crazy decision and closed my software company down overnight and began a wonderful new journey.

Q: Talk to me about your inclination to self destruct; was there any evidence that this was going to happen?….

  • I just knew it was going to happen, it was intuition.
  • I recognised a pattern in my behaviour and had to face up to the fact that I had seen these cycles in myself before. I had started to make moves and decisions based on a feeling of being unhappy and therefore I would destroy everything and start again. I decided this pattern had to stop.

Q: Along that roller coaster journey, what was your worst moment in life and what did you do to overcome it?….

  • I have seen my life as a series of disasters that I've been trying to correct….
  • The first was in 2006 when my first marriage broke down. My health was bad and I was overweight…. Generally failing in all areas.
  • I realised that I am responsible. I had to take responsibility for myself. This realization was a key catalyst
  • The second was when my clients were not taking action and my father became terribly ill.
  • I found myself facing my own mortality.
  • I asked: am I really doing what I want to be doing? Am I really being the best I can be? We all die, we are all heading to the same place.
  • When my father died, rather than getting drunk and letting it bring me down I decided to take full responsibility for my life. I am where I am and there's no one else I can blame. I’m not going to accept second best anymore.

Q: I know you're interested in helping people take value based committed action. Define that for us….

  • Picked up from the british psychological society
  • Thoughts – feelings – actions – outcome.
  • VBCA is getting clear on what's important to you.
  • Break down the values that really matter to you
  • You're going to have unwanted thoughts and feelings…. The question is can we take action in the presence of these thoughts and feelings?
  • This is a method for stepping back from negativity and giving yourself room to reflect upon your values.

Q: What are the primary thoughts and feelings that get in the way of people taking committed action to get what they want

  • There's a million different kinds. Overwhelm, stress, procrastination, sedation
  • Either you'll avoid the thoughts, or you'll try to eliminate them, or you'll try to control them
  • What shows up will be the main ones: anger, sadness, greif, fear etc.
  • These act as triggers and set us off down a particular route of thinking
  • The triggers are different for everyone
  • What really CAUSES these is one’s core belief structures.
  • I aim to get people to take value based committed action without trying to control, eliminate or avoid these negative thoughts

Q: how do we move forward in a positive way without being held back by these thought triggers?

  • The self development mantra is change your thoughts change your life. Im saying the opposite: don't even try to change your thoughts
  • It comes down to acceptance
  • This doesn't mean tolerate. Don't tolerate anything against your values
  • Accept the human condition… you should be happy, but most of the thoughts and feelings we have aren't particularly good trying to change a thought after its happened is trying to control something. Accept it.
  • It's a simple process: What would I see you doing? (external) and what would you be feeling (internal)
  • What shows up when you think about doing the things you need to do? Feel like grabbing a beer? I’d observe you getting a beer from the fridge. You start to learn to spot these loops.
  • It really comes down to presence.
  • If you want to put a gap between the action and the thoughts you need to recognise the triggers and create distance between your actions and your feelings

Q: We have so many negative thoughts every day and we see ourselves as these thoughts. This is a great way for people to look at the feelings they are having and step back a bit…

  • If you have the thought that you're stupid, step back to “I am having the thought that im stupid’
  • Then to’ I am noticing that I am having the thoughts that Im stupid”
  • Create distance. It all comes down to perspective

Q: A lot pf people don't know what they want physically in your life and thus cannot define their values. What's your framework for deciding what's important to you?

  • You can't isolate value work and belief work. Figure out what you believe and why. Then you can start to modify it. Values are the same
  • There is surface level stuff…. All values in a list of values appear good. Properly define for yourself which values really motivate YOU. 
  • Goal setting is the same…. Instead of saying I want to travel and Im going to go to rome…. So you get there and then what? Its done
  • Instead…. Travel east. That's a value. Once you get to rome you can keep going because you can keep travelling east. Always live your values
  • Always serving your life purpose

Q: what 3 things would you encourage our listeners to do now to improve the quality of their lives?

  • Data not Drama. Do an assessment of where you are now and face the facts. No drama, just facts
  • Then get clear about what you want. Where it is you want to go? What is the gap between who you are now, and who you want to be?
  • Then you need a process. Process leads to progress leads to success.
  • Process is something that will move me forward a millimeter every day. It's impossible not to succeed.

The Quickfire Round

Q: What is the best personal development advice you ever got, and from whom?

  • Brendon Burchard, who said “either something new comes into life or something new comes out of you.” and  “Life doesn’t have a meaning you give life a meaning”

Q: Can you give us a personal habit or personality trait that you think most contributes to your success?

  • Question Everything

Q: What does success mean to you?

  • Get really clear on what your values are, and then creating a life in which you can live them daily

Q: Where can our listeners find out more about you and what you do?

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