This Big Life

A Conversation With Pam Thomas

December 15, 2020 Jakob Franzen Season 1 Episode 3
This Big Life
A Conversation With Pam Thomas
Chapters
This Big Life
A Conversation With Pam Thomas
Dec 15, 2020 Season 1 Episode 3
Jakob Franzen

Join me as I sit down for a conversation with my long-time friend and mentor coach, Pam Thomas. Pam shares her perspectives as a Mindset Coach as we talk about what has challenged us in 2020 and what we can look forward to in 2021. It's a conversation about authenticity, vulnerability, and the very things that make us human.  Make yourself comfortable and listen in!

Show Notes Transcript

Join me as I sit down for a conversation with my long-time friend and mentor coach, Pam Thomas. Pam shares her perspectives as a Mindset Coach as we talk about what has challenged us in 2020 and what we can look forward to in 2021. It's a conversation about authenticity, vulnerability, and the very things that make us human.  Make yourself comfortable and listen in!

Jakob Franzen:

Hi, I'm Jakob Franzen and welcome to this episode of this big life. Today, I'm really excited to welcome a guest that I have known for quite some time. She is an amazing mindset coach. She works as a coaching faculty at several coach programs. She's done a radio show, and is a licensed coach facilitator for executive coaching groups. I'd like you to welcome not only my friend, but my longtime mentor, coach, Pam Thomas. Pam, welcome.

Pam Thomas:

Well, thank you. It's such a pleasure to be here. That's awesome.

Jakob Franzen:

I'm so glad you're able to make the time to join us today. And I am hoping that you and I can just have some fun on today's show. You know, here we are, at the end of the year with so many things that we can talk about. Oh, yeah. Because it has been an eventful year indeed. But before we get started, one of the things I wanted to talk about a little bit, because I think, you know, some of the folks who listened to this podcast will be interested, and really understanding what a mindset coach is. Oh, well, that's,

Pam Thomas:

you know, that's a great, great question, great way to start off this conversation. Well, you know, for me, and to me, a mindset coach is someone who helps you rewrite the negative narrative. That's exactly what I do. That's, that's my passion, my purpose. And my mission is to help somebody rewrite that negative narrative that can't narrative that stopping them from, you know, doing the things that they want to do, or showing up in the ways that they want to show up. And we're surrounded by messages that really mess with our mindset. And so, you know, being a mindset coach, it was kind of a journey. For me, I didn't start out as a mindset coach, I actually started out as a transition coach, because I was going through transitions. And I wound up here 16 years later. And so it's no coincidence and a good majority. And the reason I became a mindset coach is because all my clients were presenting situations where they're the stories they were telling themselves about whatever it is they were wanting to do, or even about themselves, were really standing in the way. And so I thought, well, you know, I have some experience with negative mindset having my own stories. And, and so that's what I do. I help people rewrite those stories. I help them to see what's possible, as opposed to what's impossible.

Jakob Franzen:

And I think that is such an interesting approach, especially as we come to the end of this. Yeah. Because I would venture to say that there are some people out there who have developed some negative mindsets. given some of the some of the happenings this year, is that something that you've seen in your practice? As we get to the end, I think

Pam Thomas:

it's not so much the pandemic related negative mindset, but more pandemic fatigue that I've been noticing with clients, which, of course, anytime we're in a space of fatigue of any kind, we're more susceptible to the negative mindset. And I and I think that's important to recognize, because while Yes, I think that pandemic fatigue is having a greater impact on what people think. I don't necessarily think that it's creating more of a negative dialogue, if that makes sense. I think that negative dialogue has been there, I just think that this fatigue is helping to amp it up a little bit more.

Jakob Franzen:

Yeah, yeah. And, you know, it's, it's interesting, because, for me, you know, my coaching style is I refer to myself as a modern, which can be a little cryptic at times. But what that actually means is because so many of my clients tend to be executives or, you know, working leaders, you know, the approach that I'm taking is one of being able to bring more of your whole self to the table in the workplace. And so, you know, the focus then is on self acceptance, and being able to be more resilient and more about a person's authenticity and their vulnerability, as it relates to how they lead and how they conduct themselves at work. And so it's been very interesting for me, because this last year has been a lot about introspection and reflection for people. And so people are starting to just think about themselves and what they do, and they suddenly find themselves in a position of needing to show up and listen. Because they have team members who are at home dealing with, you know, homeschooling kids distance learning. To You know, if it's a two person household, two people trying to work from home, juggling workspaces and technology. And so, you know, a lot of times it's so interesting that, you know, people forget that the simple question, how are you is the best way to open a conversation? And to actually listen? Yeah. So I, you know, I don't know, you know, how much of that you've seen in some of the work you've been doing with your clients here of just how much this year has caused them to look inward?

Pam Thomas:

So, you know, that's a really great question. You know, I have I seen more of my clients be more interests, introspective boy say that 10 times fast. As a result of this pandemic, I you know, I can't say that I have only because I seem to attract clients who want to be intra introspective, who want to take that deep dive internally. Because they know that doing that is only going to help them deal with some of the negative mindset and claim their authenticity. And I think, you know, you, you made a really great point, in terms of, you know, people showing up and being vulnerable, being vulnerable and being authentic. You know, that's tough stuff. And so, you know, a lot of my clients are already at that space, where they're wanting to, to be authentic, where they're wanting to be more vulnerable, because they realize that from that vulnerability, comes connection. So I can't say, Yeah, my clients are all turning into these introspective people, because they were already

Jakob Franzen:

something really interesting that take on this connection. Because this has been a really crazy year, of people being disconnected, because of shutdowns and lock downs, and not being able to leave home. And suddenly we find ourselves trying to make that connection, through video, and through zoom, or whatever other platforms have become available. And, you know, human connection is a really interesting topic for me, because, you know, it is something that is even for the most introverted of us, connection is important. And, you know, and I've, I have experienced some of my own connection challenges this year of just trying to find people for support. And you know, as a single parent, I have just, you know, with two small kids, it's just been crazy. And so, I'd love to hear more from you, and kind of your take on connection that has been going on this year for people.

Pam Thomas:

Well, you know, it's interesting, because I, it, you know, I think, yes, we're having to pull out of society and not be around people of quarantine. And so we are having to connect in very different ways to what we're used to. And, you know, I'm also an introvert. So I totally get it, and my hat is off to you on a, that, you know, taking care of two small kids as a single parent. And, you know, not being able to really reach out for support in that physical way. Because if there's that concern of allowing people in, you don't know where, who's who's been with who, you know, I think from for me, and I can, and I'll speak to it from a personal perspective, I actually found that I reconnected with people that I lost touch with, because of this pandemic, which was really, really fun, and enlightening that all that all at the same time. So while we were disconnecting, I found that I was reconnecting with past with people from my past. And I had clients who were doing similar, who, you know, were reconnecting and rekindling relationships and checking in on people that they lost touch with and finding out who's Okay, and what's happening in people's world. So I think in some respects, what I started to see was more people being more concerned about those folks that they either aren't currently connected

Jakob Franzen:

with or where they were connected. It's interesting, because certain roles in life, I think it for me, there was a lot more new connection that happened. And I think it was, you know, you know, certainly I checked in with some people and they checked in with me, yeah, you know, so many people I know have so many other obligations going on, or we're dealing with so many strange things in the, in the pandemic. And so I just I joined a couple of online groups that resonated with me one being a widowers group, because as some of the folks know, myself, story, I lost my husband a couple of years ago. And so it's nice to reach out and have him have that support of people who shared that same story. But then one of the most important groups I joined was a single gay father's group. Yeah. And it was amazing that there were other single men out there trying to raise various ages, right, in the middle of this pandemic, and one of the things, the gentleman who started the group, yeah, or at least the subgroup that I become close to, he started zoom meetings for us twice a week with the intent to talk about what happens if you get sick, right. So for those of us who were, you know, being extremely wary of COVID, and tried to raise children, what kind of plan did we have in place, in order to be sure that kids were taking care of that, if we needed to recuperate somewhere, we'd be able to just all of those things that a lot of times you don't think, right, and so, so it was amazing, kind of the camaraderie in that group. And it's a whole new set of people that I didn't know before, and that I would have never known had it not been for this pandemic, right. So the connection was amazing, because they are scattered from the East Coast all the way across to the west coast, on states in between. And so those I would have never met, these guys, probably had I not reached out in the middle of this pandemic. So it's been an interesting, you know, approach to connection for me, because it's a whole whole new set.

Pam Thomas:

Well, and as an introvert, congratulations, because sometimes reaching out and stepping outside our comfort zone to make connection with perfect strangers is scary.

Jakob Franzen:

You know, because

Unknown:

I love that. People.

Jakob Franzen:

So despite my children, draining my charge, from time to time, I was I was fairly charged up and ready to connect with with people. And so you know, it's been good. It's been just the right kind of cadence of getting together. And you know, being able to keep touch, because the nice thing about video calls is that you get to see the person and have the connection, at least the best approximation, because otherwise, it's a lot of texting and chatting. And I don't know about you, but I get tired of typing. And yeah.

Pam Thomas:

Well, I suck at texting anyway. So, you know, it takes me about five minutes to text two lines. I don't know if that. I don't know. If that's because

Jakob Franzen:

of you know, that it's the influence of tone. And just like it's what is nice. It's nice to connect with people, but

Pam Thomas:

Oh, sure. Yeah. Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. And you know, as you were saying that, I have to say my mind. To be honest, My mind went to a place about introverts. You know, I think you're averse and I am sorry, I'm going on a tangent here. As introverts. We get a bad rap. People think we don't like people. And that's not true. We love people. We love people. People are wonderful. We just prefer to be one on one or in small gatherings as opposed to large parties, where there's like 50,000 people, although Having said that, I will tell you a fun fact. Okay, fun fact, here we go. Fun fact, as an introvert, I love speaking to audiences of large magnitude, love it. But that also means that I have to go and sequester myself after the fact to recharge my battery. But the larger the group, the better, but put me in a party with a large group. And I will stand in the corner and just observe. I will be your party wallflower, I will talk to samplings of people. But I'm not right. Let me be the life of the party and be better if I flip

Jakob Franzen:

and cry. Oh, my goodness. Well, that, you know,

Unknown:

there you go.

Jakob Franzen:

You know, we I'm thinking more and more about our conversation and how this year has gone and and you know, what people have done for connection and, you know, this idea keeps coming up for me. You labeled some of this pandemic fatigue, which I wholeheartedly agree there's a whole lot of fatigue going on. But one of the things that that has stood out to me has been this idea of chronic trauma from the pandemic, right, where, you know, the rug was pretty much yanked out from under a lot of people all at once, and has been perpetual. Right? And, you know, one of the things that jumps out To me, it's just in dealing with that long standing trauma. You know, people have to find ways to express themselves and, you know, explore their creativity and do things like that. And so I was just curious as to your take on what you've seen with people and even maybe yourself of picking up hobbies or doing new things during this pandemic to feel more whole?

Pam Thomas:

Oh, gosh, that's a great question. So, I have seen, I mean, clients who have, I have one client who decided she wanted to be a fairy godmother. And that was something she discovered because of the pandemic. So being a fairy godmother means sharing for her giving, anonymously. And that was something that she has discovered, as, as a result of this pandemic, I've had other clients who have gotten in touch with their creative side who are journaling or writing more painting more. You know, I had a client who learned how to knit, you know, it just it I think, when you're tasked with having to spend time in your home, where you know that going out, you need to be selective, and careful and cautious, and you can't be around a lot of people. I think people genuinely least most people genuinely become resourceful. I know, for me, this has been, we talked about introspection. This has been my year of introspection, this has been my year of really expanding my thought process, dealing with my own mindset, finding ways to be creative with the tools that I use, not just with me, but with my clients. And so I've utilized this time to hunt and gather, for lack of a better way to put it, hunt and gather different things. And I've read more than I've read in years. I think I read a book a week now, which is unheard of in my world. So yeah, you know, I think, but yeah, the the chronic trauma. Yeah, I think one of the things that I have noticed is you have folks who are really, truly hurting. And you can't take people who are really, truly hurting and say, Well, you know, your hurt is a choice. And so just Buck up and deal with it and choose differently. It's an I think it's a matter of being compassionate, and meeting people where they are. And like you said earlier, really, truly listening, tuning in, and really, truly listening and lending that ear and that support and not telling somebody, well, you know, you need to find your joy, you need to find your peace, you need to find your happiness when that person right now is worried, maybe worried that right? They need to find

Jakob Franzen:

any, you know, to put on to it's just the ability to engage with someone and say, I see you. I see how you're showing up and I'm I'm here and it's Yeah, no, so many times people don't want specific advice. They just want to be seen. That is what validation of I'm going through hell right now. Yes, you are. And I see you. And I'm here for you.

Pam Thomas:

I see you, I hear you, I love you. I care about you. I'm here for you. And I think you know, as a mindset coach, one of the things that I think is really important to make very clear is my job as a mindset coach is not to not to tell you how to be happy. My job as a mindset coach is to support you in creating a mindset that's that that feels good and is truthful to you. And so when I was saying, when you've got somebody who's hurting, you don't take that person and say to them, okay, well you're, you're at Ground Zero. And now I want you to go up 10 octaves, to feel joy or feel peace, because that's going to create frustration. My job as a mindset Coach is to help you slowly unpack and slowly go up a ladder, if you will, of emotion to get to a space where, you know, things aren't so dark and are so gloomy, but it's not a matter of all the sudden saying, Okay,

Jakob Franzen:

well here's exactly, you know, I do a lot of work in my practice with self acceptance. And right and it's, it's it's very similar to that in that I work with people and just taking themselves as they are and not being not being so harsh on themselves. And one of the things that always comes up is this ability to have grace for yourself. And it is one of my major struggles. And I am always very upfront and honest that I explore that. And I do a lot of reading and research on it simply because I do struggle with it, because of always wanting to be perfect and have perfect things and to make everything just the way it needs to be, I sometimes lose that grace for myself. But one of the things I've noticed is I, you know, been doing some of my work on self acceptance is looking at just the feeds that come up in social media and the advertising that's being run in social media, there are so many people and I refer to them as snake oil, people, because they are out there telling you, you can become something different for the low price of 9999. Exactly. And it's just I feel like people are, they're hurting, and they're wanting something different for themselves. And it misses or bypasses this idea of, you know, taking yourself as you are, right, and starting from that place of where you are, instead of making some big leap into something that you're not supposed to be and whether you're unpacking it slowly to your point, bit by bit, or you're really working through having some grace for yourself. Those are important steps to begin any sort of life change. And I I worry that people are trying to take advantage of what's going on this year.

Pam Thomas:

It's it's unfortunate, and I think you're you're absolutely spot on. I do think that there, but I think that happens, regardless of pandemic. I've seen it for years, particularly in the coaching industry. And you know, one of the things you said, I think is is truly important. I mean, as you know, you know me pretty well. My favorite, one of my favorite words is grace. And, you know, I think that came about is because I wasn't always giving myself grace. But I think what you said was really important and worth repeating, because you have it part of part of going through something that's traumatic part of the healing process, is giving yourself that grace and accepting that you're where you are right now. And there's nothing wrong with you. Even though the world around you might be saying, Oh, you've got so much to be happy for you've got a beautiful home, you've got two Healthy Kids. Yeah, all of that is true. But on the inside, you're hurting and to have somebody say, just get happy. I mean, I think that's a discount and asking you to be disingenuous. I grew up with a My love My dad. So my dad had this saying, and he had variations of it. Happiness is a switch that you don't have to reach for through your anal sphincter. I hated that saying, I really did. I think to this day, I still hate that saying, God love him. I love my dad, but hate that saying, I don't, you know, I think people have this misconception that, especially with those programs, and that snake oil salesman that all of a sudden, if they're going to do something, they're going to go from ground zero, all the way up to 10 right away. And I think part of the healing process is really actually sitting in, whatever wherever it is, you're sitting and allowing yourself the opportunity to do whatever is necessary for you what feels right for you to grow and to learn from those experiences rather than try and, you know, take a panacea, if you will, and, and bypass all the all the good stuff along the way, because there is good stuff. And in that. And I know that sounds counterintuitive, but there really is some of my most traumatic experiences, from those traumatic experiences came a lot of good. And ultimately led me here, and I wouldn't trade that.

Jakob Franzen:

Yeah. You know, as I hear you talk about that. I'm also reminded of just some observations I've made through the year of, you know, I mean, we're all we're all tired, kind of getting back to your idea of demick fatigue, and we're all looking for a way out of that fatigue. Yeah. But one of the groups that I have noticed that has borne the brunt of what has happened this year has been just women in general, and more typically women and families, because many of them have had to, you know, take a second seat with their career, they've had to, you know, stay home to get their children through school. And, you know, and I'm not saying that that is always the case. There are certainly other models that have taken place out there. But I think by and large, the country in general has asked women to step up in a way that I think may have been more than they were, you know, ready to do or should do. And I'd love your take on that because certainly as not a woman you know, I think As a single parent, I have been called on to do more than my parents, in a way, because not only am I trying to run my business, but I'm trying to, you know, educate my children. Right? And so it just I feel like I have a bit of empathy care of your kids or for some of these women, but I, you know, I worry about Sure, kind of some of these quick fixes being marketed to them of you know, how to make you feel better how to get you out of your rut? And I don't know, I just love your take on on what you've what you see.

Pam Thomas:

Well, you know, yeah, when we talk about Quick, quick fixes, particularly as it pertains to women, that is a button for me. We're pushing the button. We're pushing the button, because I, God, you know, I think there's a first of all, you know, my hat is off to all parents who are trying to juggle a gazillion and one things, I think you and I had this conversation a couple months ago. And I mean, I don't know, I have a son, he's 26 years old, I don't know what I would do. And I'm sure I'd figure it out. But I don't know what I would do in this situation, trying to have, you know, have my clients and homeschool and, you know, take care of all the things that need to be taken care of. And I think, I think it's not just while I appreciate what you said about women, but I think it's it's single parents such as yourself, as well as the moms in the world, that are being tasked with having to find their feet. And this is, this is not easy stuff. And, you know, I think one of the things that's that's important in finding your feet is that grace piece that we were talking about, because what I'm noticing is, you know, going back to the the snake oil salesman, here quick fixes, is we're preying on people in their weakest moment, making them feel like they're not good enough, making them feel like they're not doing things well enough, making them feel like there's something deeply flawed in them. Because you know, that they're not able to manage 52 things at one time. And and I think that's, that's the travesty of it all. And I think that's the damaging part to even a person's psyche. And a person's mindset is being told by the messages out in the world, whether it's from the ads you see on Facebook, or the the social media posts, or even in the news. You know, there's all sorts of negative messaging. And I think it comes back to that peace on grace and checking in with yourself and saying, am I doing the very best job I can do, given what I have today. And the recognizing when you are hurting, and when you are tired, and when you do need to give yourself that time in that moment to just be and and not fall prey to somebody else's quick fix. Because at the end of the day, I hate to tell you this, there is nothing to fix. There is no quick fix. I mean, we're gonna mandate a symptom, we're gonna bandaid something and that whatever issue you're mandating is going to come back,

Jakob Franzen:

it is interesting to think in terms of, you know, this idea that we've been barraged with media messages or whatever else through the course of this year. Let's say that you're not good enough, right, you should be able to do because one of the one of the things that, you know, just to share a bit of an anecdote of what has affected me as a single parent is, you know, I, I guess I get targeted for a lot of different ads or suggested posts or things on social media because of my status. And you start looking at some of these, you know, maybe you've had families and they all very shiny and happy and their homes are perfectly immaculate, and their children are perfectly immaculate. And I start thinking it's all I can do to get to tomorrow. It's like, right, my children are on where there's, you know, stretching my patience completely. And, and I am not Ah, and just to be clear with everyone not cut out to teach fourth grade math. Oh, not in my skill set. yet. I'm happy to teach, you know, first grade fiction writing, which I didn't know is a thing. It's you know, they're just there, those are special skill sets. And those are special, you know, sets of patients that the teachers have. And I'm just, you know, hats off to them. I could not do that in it I proven over the last eight months, I cannot do that. And so, you know, but I'm hit with these things. And I'm thinking, as I look around that, I should be able to keep my house picked up more, I should be able to, you know, make this dinner or I should be able to, you know, I should be baking bread, whatever it is. And, you know, I'm sure you've noticed I was using the word should.

Pam Thomas:

Yeah, you know, you know me so well, I'm squirming in my chair. Oh, lordy be so should. Oh, my God. Yes.

Jakob Franzen:

point being is listening, make us think should write they want to think, Oh, well, I'm not using my pandemic time wisely. Because my house is a mess. And I did not learn to bake bread, I did not learn to knit. You know, I mean, I did not learn to do all of these things, which anyone in and of themselves may be fine and a calling that someone else has had and great. But the way they get packaged up and some of this media, we think we should all be doing these things. Right. And I did not read seven novels last week, and I'm not and, and so I found myself and thank goodness for that, you know, a sense of awareness about that kind of thing. I found myself thinking, I should, again, should be doing these things. And the moment I hear that word, it's like, Oh, hang on. And it is the, you know, I am good enough response that has to come up because I don't want to be held to that kind of pressure of should. I want to just simply be who I am supposed to be. And you know, because I can only be me. And that isn't enough. And it and I say all of that. And I bring up the story because I want to talk a little bit about, you know, we're rocketing towards the end of this year.

Pam Thomas:

Thank God,

Jakob Franzen:

there's no greater thing. Here is about to be over. For many of us, there we we celebrate holidays in the month of December, there are a variety of things right, that hit the, you know, radar for celebrations, which are celebrations intended to cause us to reflect over the past year and and what we're doing. But then as we approach the new year, the new calendar year, we start to look ahead and think about what we could do. Next year, what next year is going to be like, and I feel like some people are hitting the end of the year thinking I'm not good enough. Right? They're feeling like this this year has highlighted I'm not good enough. I'm not doing enough. What will next year hold. And I just kind of, you know, what message would you have for people who are sitting there thinking I'm ending this year not good enough.

Pam Thomas:

That is the biggest bold faced lie ever, ever, ever, ever. So we have we have that negative naysayer in our head, which tries to convince us all the time that we're not good enough. And it it does that because it needs air it needs to live. Otherwise, if it's not screaming loudly in our air, you're not good enough. You should be doing X, Y and Z. You know it? It doesn't live. And I think it's the thoughts. It's not the actual thought that's the problem. That's what we allow the thought to do to us that becomes the problem. And should is one of the biggest lies ever, ever, ever, ever. So if you're saying I should there's a good chance you're telling yourself a lie. And that story of not good enough. You know, that also is a lie. Because it that speaks of comparison. And when we compare ourselves to other people and other people's lives, first of all, we don't know what's going on behind the curtain. Okay, for all we know, it's like the Wizard of Oz behind the curtain is a little man pulling levers and and bringing into a megaphone. We don't know what's going on behind the curtain. That's a perception that obviously sells cosmetics and sells diet plans and sells newfangled programs here, look at this couple, they're shiny and new and look at their house. It's beautiful. We don't know what's going on behind the curtain and so to compare ourselves to a picture or to someone else, is probably one of the most detrimental things we can do to ourselves. Because it is it is going to perpetuate That thought of not good enough. And when we believe we're not good enough, that thought perpetuates a feeling of not good enough. And that feeling also perpetuates what we see. It literally changes the way we see things. So I would ask myself, what would I see if I didn't see not good enough? What I see? What would I see if for a moment, I didn't see not good enough? And what else would I see? And I would continue to explore that until I figured out what I actually see is real. I am me, I'm doing the best I can. I, you know, got some things that I'm working through, you know, the kids are driving me crazy. But I'm a good mom on this on that. I would see reality, I wouldn't see that that fostered

Jakob Franzen:

it. Yeah, that makes sense. And you know, because it is one of those, you know, when you think in terms of this idea that should narrative, the I'm not good enough narrative, those are things that get stuck on a loop in our head. Right, as human beings, we play that all the time, because we're confirmed own bias to that. Oh, and, you know, yeah, and I think, as you know, for me, any message I would have for people who are stuck in that is, you know, do something to disrupt the loop. And, right, whether it is change your routine, spend some time with a coach do do something differently, that disrupts that routine, because to your point, there's so much else to see so much. Which kind of brings me to my next point that, you know, we're also getting to that, you know, changeover of the calendar year, again, thank goodness. But people, young people looking at New Year's resolutions. And I always find these things fascinating. Because I know, people who make them and don't keep them. I know people who don't make them, but yet they make changes. And there is some actionable things. I just, you know, I think there's this idea that the calendar starts new and fresh, and it's our opportunity to start new and fresh. I don't believe that we're necessarily bound to that. But for people who are wanting a fresh start now, right for the year, you know, what would you say to that? What? I'd love to know your your take on the New Year evolution? Oh,

Pam Thomas:

I love the fact I love the fact and, and I think it's about doing what what works for somebody. I mean, I can't, I don't want to rain on somebody sprayed, if New Year's resolutions work for them, or that notion of starting afresh, my personal opinion, you can start afresh in the next minute. You can start afresh in the next 10 minutes. You don't have to wait for the new year, I think I'm not a real resolution maker. Anytime I've ever made resolutions, they've wound up in my sock drawer in the very back. And I find them three years later when I'm digging out old socks that I forgot I had. So I don't you know, I don't make new New Year's resolutions I do. I think it is a matter of finding what works. And I think it is a matter of really checking in and finding out, you know, how how do you want to show up in this new year? What do you want to be different? Even if it's something slight? You know, doing things it's like you said interrupting the loop doing things that make you feel better. that make you feel good. I mean, I, I started this was the other morning idea. As you know, I have a morning ritual where I meditate and I journal and it hit me I went, you know, I want to be I want to start operation happiness. I thought well, what the heck is that? operation happiness, and it and as I was continuing to journal, what came forward was I just want to be the very best version of me and every single second of every single day. And that means checking in and being very present and finding out. Do I feel good right now? And if I don't feel good right now what what can I do that makes me feel better. And being very cognizant and aware of the energy I'm taking in and the energy I'm putting out into the world, not engaging in negative conversations with people because, frankly, that's a drain and that's going to help me to feel really crappy. And just just doing the things saying yes to happy things, saying yes, to just doing things that are fun. And when I do feel crappy, because I'm human, I'm gonna I'm not gonna feel happy 24 seven, even though it's operation happiness, it's just not going to happen. Is is recognizing that as a human being I'm entitled not to feel okay. And that I I just need to sit with it. I don't necessarily always need to know why don't feel okay. Just honor the fact that I don't and ask myself, what do I want to do? What do I choose to do right now, and if I say I choose to sit in my own little caucus and unbox and build caucus and castles until the cows come home that's what I'm gonna do. But yeah little tangential there

Jakob Franzen:

because I you know I love the way you you kind of frame it for, you know thinking about next year and how do I want to show up? How do I want to show up next year because we've had a year of, you know, reflection raising our own self awareness, largely because we've been with ourselves so many hours a day. And it's that what parts of me Do I want to bring forward? of? No, what are the good parts, the parts that make me happy, the parts that make others happy? To your point about operation happiness, you know, I mean, it struck me because as you were talking about not engaging in negative thoughts and not engaging negative people, I've been teaching my daughter some lessons, because they have engaged in some, you know, age appropriate online gaming. But even then, little girls at that age can be cruel sometimes. Right? They can. So it has given me the opportunity to teach them because there is a lovely, you know, block and ignore feature. It is, you know, I tell them people who are going to be your friend or who are going to, you know, engage with you need to make you feel good about yourself and the world around you. And if you don't get those feelings, then they're probably not your friend.

Pam Thomas:

That's a great, great message. Great message. You're such a good Papa,

Jakob Franzen:

I try I try. You are you're welcome to surround themselves with people like that as they get older. You know, because we're all amazing beings. And we should surround ourselves with people who validate that right and lift us up. So my you know, my thinking for next year is it after this year, for sure. It has got to be a year about lifting each other up. Right, because it has been a year of just difficult things, not only the pandemic, but just you know, grappling with, with race in our nation grappling with a contentious election, there has been so much that has been kind of a catalyst for some negativity. And it's like, let's flip that around and find not only the lessons that we've learned in all of this, because I, you know, I will jump up and say and raise my hand and say I grew and I learned a lot about not only myself, but my my neighborhood right where I am.

Pam Thomas:

Yes.

Jakob Franzen:

And so I want to I want to take that forward next year, you know, without, I'm not big on New Year's resolutions either, because like you, I also have a soccer where mine is up. But you know, being able to take this and just say, I want to show up next year as someone who accentuates the positive and someone who elevates others. Because I just think if we did more of that it would just be a much happier world.

Pam Thomas:

Yeah, amen. Absolutely. I mean, I think, you know, they, we've all heard it said before, and Gandhi said it best Be the change you want to see in the world. And I think when we show up as the most best, the best, brightest version of ourselves. That is contagious, you know. But I think it comes down to also recognizing, if you fall off the wagon, the be your best version of yourself wagon, you can get back on it any given moment, any given time and to go back to being a redundant person, and sound like a broken record. That's what giving yourself grace. That's where that comes in. Now, it's going to be very helpful.

Jakob Franzen:

Well, and it's there was a slogan, I heard often during this year of just people reminding others and especially in the mental health community, it's okay to not be okay. Absolutely. And it's absolutely the huge message that we all have to carry forward and next year and, you know, not only giving ourselves grace and having those days, and I've often said, sometimes you have to sit with the defeat of the day and decide how you're going to show up tomorrow. And absolutely. And it's it's okay. You know, I mean, it's for people to say you can't you can't feel those things you can't, you know, you've got to just move on. Sometimes you have to pause. Yeah. And it can really help you grow if you take that.

Pam Thomas:

Absolutely. Absolutely. And I think you know, going back to an earlier point that you made when we were talking about vulnerability. I think one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves As well as other people is to be transparent and vulnerable. And to be able to say, yeah, I'm having a bad day or I'm not doing so great. Today I'm hurting, My heart hurts allowing people in, because there are people out there who want to come in, and they want to be in support and assistance. And I think it goes back to that connection piece. You know, I think the worst thing in the world we can do, and I'm not saying you walk around, and when people ask you how you are at the grocery store, you go into the song and dance of how miserable you are. I'm not saying that. But I think the worst thing we can do is deny the fact that we're in whatever space we're in. I, I learned that the hard way, needs to be Pollyanna positive and inauthentic authentically. So you know, put up put on this face for the outside world to see when the walls in my house as my Nana would say were crying. And I and I think that is also perpetuates what we were talking about earlier about the not good enough message. When we're trying to paint a picture, that's not actual unreal,

Jakob Franzen:

it's it kind of as an, in addition to that, one of the things that I have to work on in my own vulnerability of just showing up and saying I'm not okay, in being able to ask someone to teach me how to accept the help. Because I think it is in for those who have grown up being highly independent and highly resilient. And thinking that, like, I've got this, to be able to say, I got this. And I need to understand how to let you help me is is a big thing, because I think oftentimes, people offer their help. And I discovered this, during kind of my time of grief is that people are like, let me know if there's anything I can do. Well, I didn't know what they could do. I didn't know, you know, I didn't know how to ask. And so that's something I've carried forward is understanding how you know how I can ask, ask for the help. But the other lesson I've tried to teach people is when you offer your help offer specific help. actionable help that you can just do. Would you like to do X for you? Yeah. Yeah. Right. Because if when people offer their general help with like, let me know if there's anything I can do. They certainly mean it. And it's coming from a very, you know, loving place. But it's not specific. And like, you don't know what to do with that?

Pam Thomas:

Well, particularly if you don't if it's not easy to ask for help. And I get that I you know, I grew up with the Oh, you don't want to bother somebody? Right? You don't want to burden them? By asking them for help. So yeah, okay. I don't want to burden anybody. And I and I think that's also a misconception. I mean, people who care and who are genuinely compassionate people want to be helpful. But to your point, I think, yeah, when you're, particularly when you're in a grieving space. The world around you is foggy and dense. To ask somebody for something is, you know, all you see is the dense, and the fog. So yeah, being able to have somebody say, and I'm guilty of it, too. I will always say, If you need anything, let me know, you know. And so I think to your point, I think that's a really great message is tell people to, when you're offering help be specific. If If, if I can be there to talk to you if you need somebody just to listen, no. And to see you. I can do that I'm here.

Jakob Franzen:

Yeah, yeah. And it's, you know, and as I think about what I would say that we need to have top of mind as we look at 2021. And I pulled together some of these threads we've been talking about, I would say, you know, we have to decide how do we want to show up? Yeah, for 2021. And I would also say, how do we want to be kind to each other and lift each other up? And finally, I would also say that, you know, that we all have to decide how will we allow ourselves to be lifted up? And you know, the things that come to my mind that I just want to ask you to start to head to wrap things up. What would you say to people that they need to keep top of mind for 2021?

Pam Thomas:

What stories do you want to stop telling yourself in 2021 that don't serve you anymore? That don't empower you that don't lift you up that don't make you feel good, that don't that hide the uniqueness and the authenticity. That is you You know, I think that's really important because those stories you're telling yourself are absolutely tainting the way you look at yourself. And really quickly, it's kind of like the mirror analogy. Do we have a minute for that? So, okay, so you know, you can have a really great, we'll take we'll take some unknown person, so we'll take Julie, we don't know Julius. Julie gets out of bed. She's had a great night's sleep. She's really excited about the day she gets out. She does her yoga. She goes into her closet, she pulls out her favorite outfit, she puts it on, she gets stands in front of the mirror, and she turns around and she's sweating herself. She's like, Damn, I look hot today. You've got this going on girl. A week later. Julie had a really bad night. She was up all night telling herself stories about how you know the day at work was all her fault. her boss getting angry. You know, God, how stupid Could she have been to miss that mistake, blah, blah, blah. She didn't sleep well, she got up, she gets out of bed, she steps in a pile of dog puke. And decides, you know what, I'm just going to go into the closet, I'm going to put my favorite outfit because that always makes me feel better. She puts the outfit on, she stands in front of the mirror expecting to sweat herself only to see herself in the mirror going, Oh my god, what made you think that this outfit makes me feel look good. Okay, nothing's changed, the outfit hasn't changed the same outfit. The one thing that has changed is Julie's perspective, because of the stories and the mindset that she had going into the closet, and pulling out her favorite outfit. So I think it's really important to pay attention to any of those stories that you've been carrying around that are heavy, and that the pages are yellowed and dog eared because you've read them repeatedly, but they're not serving you. And make it a point to rewrite. Even just a page, or a chapter, or a paragraph or even a sentence. If you can't do a whole paragraph, do a sentence.

Jakob Franzen:

tiny steps. That is a very, very powerful thing to be able to be in control of your own narrative. And yeah, so you know, I so appreciate that. And Pam, I really enjoyed our conversation. Yeah. love how it is gone all over the place, and some very good directions, which is what I wanted for this episode I wanted, you know, to be able to have a lot of fun here at the end of the year and to dive into some things. But before we wrap, you know, close out the session, why don't you let us know what you're working on now and where people can go to find you if they want to learn more?

Pam Thomas:

up. Okay, so what am I working on now? Well, I'm actually working on a book called the stories I told told myself Go figure. Hope to have that out in 2021. But I have a new group coaching program starting in January, called the power up. And it really is about creating intentions and goals for a three month period, something you want to accomplish in three months. And and we tackled those goals, but we also tackled the stories, the negative narrative, the camp dialogue that gets in the way, so that we can change that so that you by the end of three months, you get to where you want to go. And people can reach me at what's within you. That's what's within you the letter u.com.

Jakob Franzen:

Excellent, excellent. And obviously, if you miss any of that, my contact information stays the same. And you're welcome to get the information for me as well. So you know, with that, I'm going to go ahead and wrap things up. And Pam, thank you so much for taking the Oh,

Pam Thomas:

it's always a pleasure to be with you. Are you kidding You are such a bright light and it's an honor and I wish you a wonderful Happy Happy 2021

Jakob Franzen:

thank you so much and I wishing you the very same. And so until next time, I'd like to tell everyone thank you for tuning in. And this is Jacob Francine with Pam Thomas and we're living this big life