27 Jan High-Performance Mindset Coach – Dr. Bex Hemmingson
In this episode I chat to Dr. Bex (Rebecca) Hemmingson, a high-performance mindset coach and owner of Remix Coaching & Consulting. She is an amazing woman, a Public Health Researcher, a Les Mills Group Fitness Instructor, has a background in criminal psychology and also a passionate unicorn lover. Despite all of her achievements, she shares in this conversation how she suffered from the Impostor Syndrome and with her Inner Critic. She has dedicated her life to understanding human behaviour and is now focused on helping people get out of their own way so they can live a life that they love, are energised by and can be fully present in.
Below are some snippets of what Bex covers in the conversation:
What does finding your truth mean to you?
Finding your truth is getting out of your own way. Our truth is always there. We don’t need to read books to find it. We don’t need to get certificates or qualifications to find it, which is what I thought you needed to do – hence the PHD. But all the answers are always there. But life gets in the way, and a lot of noise can get in the way.
For me – self-doubt would get in the way, perfectionism would get in the way, fear of failure would get in the way. It would create a lot of noise. I would get hooked by that noise, and accept that as my truth, rather than getting under all that crap and actually listening to that truth that was there the whole time. Which was just me and my essence and my strengths and my passions, all of which was buried for a long time under all of that other stuff.
For me truth is getting rid of the noise – and learning not to listen to it.
“Feelings and thoughts are not facts”
Journey to the PHD
A theme for me in my life has been a lot of self-doubt. I’ve always felt like an impostor. When I was 16 years old, I knew that I wanted to study criminal psychology. But I didn’t see myself as an academic, or a super brainy person, I doubted myself. I had several wonderful years interviewing people in NZ prisons, many inspiring and broken people. It took me longer than it needed to in order to finish my PHD because I was locked in that mindset of “I don’t know what I’m doing”. Then I finally realised it was such a waste of time and energy. That was a turning point for me.
“There comes a time when you’ll get sick of your own bullshit”
I said to myself “Bex come on, you can do these things, you’ve got great strengths and skills, and even if you don’t who cares!” You can go out and get them and work at them. That led me to my own business, if I didn’t have to worry about anything at all – fears and constraints, what would I happily do. And that was how Remix was born because that is my happy place, that is my free place and that is my true place.
I focus a lot on mindset. Boosting the enablers and minimising the barriers in terms of getting in our own way. I do one-to-one coaching and also group workshops, presentations, and taster sessions. Some of the things I talk about for example are:
Resilience and managing stress. In particular mindset and how we’re thinking about our life and how can it be increasing our stress and how can it can be contributing to our strength. I talk about feedback – how to give and receive feedback in how it can support people’s psychological safety and helps them to feel good about receiving constructive feedback.
Growth and fixed mindset – whether we see ourselves as fixed or our weaknesses, failures or mistakes as an opportunity for growth – not threatening but as exciting.
I talk about the impostor syndrome because I could have written the book on that topic.
High performance mindset – if we take all of the research and everything we know about high performers, like athletes, CEO’s, mum’s, etc., what can we learn from them and apply to our own life?
“I felt the need to keep scrambling for more achievements, because I thought after I get the next achievement – then I’ll be enough.”
But what I needed to do was get rid of the noise, be really mindful, and turn my attention to what was really going on in my mind. Its easy to just go into autopilot, instead of getting still and really listening to what’s going on in your head. For example really unhelpful self-talk, so that voice in my head saying “what if you look like an idiot in that meeting?” or “what if I don’t know how to answer their questions”. People talk about the inner critic, and this is what was going on the whole time for me.
But because I didn’t stop and consciously listen, step back and interrogate what that was all about, I just kept buying into that default and thinking I wasn’t good enough. But then I realised I had a choice – whether I listened to that crap or not.
With my impostor syndrome, when that shows up now I literally say in my mind “well, hello impostor syndrome, thanks for turning up, but I don’t have time to engage with you right now” it sounds ridiculous, but its really helpful.
Its helpful to be more of an observer of your thoughts, rather than be completely hooked by your thoughts. The more I practiced, the easier it became and took less conscious effort. I don’t want to spend my energy on that and we don’t have to.
The brain is a double-edged sword, it is just trying to do what’s best for us, but it can lead to defaults that aren’t useful. That is why it is so important to interrogate it and ask yourself is this thought helping me go to where I want to go right now? If yes hold on to it, if not the throw it aside.
Fundamental Human Needs
There are some fundamental human needs that we all have – according to research. We all have them whether we are a violent offender who is imprisoned for murder, or we’re a senior manager doing really well in our professional life and just trying to take it to the next level. When those human needs are not met they can lead to dissatisfaction no matter who you are.
Those are things like the need for;
- and autonomy.
If we’re not having those needs met, this plays out in our behaviours. These underlying things unite us all, and have a detrimental affect if we don’t have them in our lives.
Corporate Clients – High-Achievers
The common conversations I have around coaching is Impostor Syndrome and Perfectionism – holding ourselves attainable to very high standards. We hold ourselves accountable to a standard that we can’t define, yet we often judge that we’re failing at it. But how? Because we don’t even know what that means. What that comes down to is a whole lot of self-talk using the word should, for example – “I should be able to do this”, or “I should not be vulnerable or people will think I’m weak”, or “I should never fail”. All of these standards do block you because they stop you from stepping outside of your comfort zone. Should’s pop up in terms of emotions like – “I shouldn’t feel this way” or “I should get over it”.
A lot of self-judgement that you wouldn’t expect of those you love, but you hold yourself to.
Just see it for what it is, our brain is there to look for possible dangers and possible risks. It is there to protect us. When it comes up, say thanks to your brain for trying to look after you. I wouldn’t say try to get rid of it, as it is the brain just doing its thing. But you can either latch onto it and have it make you feel dis-empowered. Or you can recognise it for what it is and put it in the box in the corner for now. It doesn’t mean we are flawed in anyway, it is just the brain doing its thing.
Advice to others on finding their truth
The truth is always there, but it gets covered in stuff, life happens and we need to re-remember who we are and what is lying there. That requires reflection, time with yourself. I think we don’t allocate time with ourselves, just to think. Stop and listen to what is actually going on. You hear about jounaling and reflective practices all the time. That is how you can start to listen to your truth. When you do things that feel really good, there is a reason for that. When I’d read personal development books and feel energised, there was a reason for that. But I needed to stop and consider – why this activity was energising to me.
“Give yourself permission to be a priority in your own life”
Give yourself permission to be a priority in your own life, you can take 5 or 10 minutes out of your day to just sit with yourself and check-in with how you’re feeling. What has been making you feel good? What has been making you feel not so good? What are the characteristics of whats going on that makes you feel really energised? That is your passion, calling, truth, best self, highest potential, whatever you want to call it. It doesn’t have to be a job, it could be something you want to volunteer for or it could be how you want to interact with people.
We get caught up in ‘purpose’ being a career or a job, and making your living out of your purpose.
Part of my reflection was figuring out my values, and I just have one, which is to add value, and if I die having done that, then I’ve had a good life. I use that as my anchor to keep pulling myself back to.
That is a long way of saying – get to know yourself. I doesn’t require another self-help book. You don’t have to talk to people, it is already there.
What stops people from finding and living their truth?
Fear. I feel that as I haven’t gone full time in my business as I have fear wondering – will I have enough money to survive?
Sometimes living your truth will spit up some unknowns and uncertainty, which we are hardwired to not like. We try to have all the answers up front. If your truth is starting a business, you want all the answers now, but that’s not possible.
Living your truth and speaking it boldly will mean some people don’t like it. But when you get to the bottom of your truth that fear will go away. Some people will disagree, but that’s okay, as that is their truth.
“We need more people speaking their truth. I have a strong mantra “F**k the shoulds” because so much comparison and critique comes from that word.
As soon as you hear that word, think carefully about where that can take you.”
Self-care is so crucial, because when we are tired or stressed, we may not be able to make the best decisions. A lot of people think self-care is indulgent. It is crucial, because a lack of self-care can build resentment. It doesn’t have to be much, not an hour meditation, it can just be 5 minutes of breathing, not to think of anything, just breathe. That was what I needed to anchor myself to me.
Just be with yourself, that is self-care.
Life is short
I’m fixated on this fact that our time here is short. Our lives are so short. Ask yourself, is there anything standing in your way? Do you want to spend the short time you have here, hooked into these thoughts? Do you really want to waste time with that? You have exactly what you need to flip the switch on in and remix it.
You can see more of Bex Hemmingson here:
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