The Power of Changing Stories with Dr. Robin Buckley

Dr. Robin Buckley, Ron, and Michelle

The Power of Changing Stories with Dr. Robin Buckley

Episode 29: The Power of Changing Stories with Dr. Robin Buckley

Ron opens by introducing Dr. Robin Buckley. Then Michelle dives in by saying a lot of what they discuss in their lessons revolves around fear. She then asks Robin if there is anything in particular where she was initially afraid but was able to overcome that fear, and what difference that made for her.

• Robin says one of the scariest things she has ever done was switching from her traditional mental health therapy model to the model of coaching that she does today.

• She tells the story behind her transition, and the difficulty trying to distinguish between using her gut, her heart, and her head.

• She tells herself often that she knows things will ultimately be okay, it’s just the transition that is hard.

Ron asks Robin how her head, her heart, and her gut manifest for her as she is thinking about making certain decisions, and the fear associated with that.

• She says the heart is always the emotion and passion, which she thinks are important to becoming who you are supposed to be.

• Robin notes that sometimes that gets in the way of the logical and strategic part of your brain that deals solely with the facts.

• Her gut, which she also says is her own intuition, is just knowing that things have been okay in the past, and will continue to be okay in the future.

• Combining the three together she is able to come to a decision that isn’t based off of fear, but on some sort of cognitive reasoning.

• Robin adds that fear is an evolutionary leftover from the days when we had saber tooth tigers roaming outside of our caves, but that it is not as necessary now as it once was.

• She says fear can be a good motivator, but it’s also a good thing to tell your brain that you don’t need it anymore.

• Michelle notes how much fear can hold on and grip you, and then adds her own story of how she overcame one of her fears.

Michelle says that overcoming fears requires changing a story. She then asks what stories Robin has changed in order to be able to overcome some of those fears.

• Robin says her main story was, “I can’t do it.”

• She tells a story of a fear that she held on to around giving up working in a field that she got a PhD in.

• She was able to change that story to one of she is still using it, just in a different capacity than was initially intended.

• She looks at situations like those and then tries to look at data from past experiences that help her realize she can change the situation.

• Ron recalls one of his own stories that he was able to change after he told someone else about his fear, but also realized that the fear was still there, but that it no longer had power over him.

• Robin says that with the brain, in order to achieve our optimal level of functioning, you have to talk to it as if you are trying to reign in a toddler, which most of us do not do.

• She also notes that fear and excitement elicit very similar responses, so that often we have to actively tell our brains that we are excited rather than afraid.

Ron asks Robin what the key things she does to get her clients to recognize the story in their head.

• Robin says the humanization and normalization of telling people they are not the only person that feels that way.

• Getting people to recognize that is the first step, and then she teaches them how use that knowledge to feel more confident.

• Helping people reframe their stories by looking at the terminology they are using around the situation as well, Robin says, allows people to strategically control their thoughts, behaviors, emotions, and reactions.

Michelle asks if there are any very common stories that Robin works with and how does she deal with those.

• Robin notes that imposter syndrome is rampant, regardless of who you are.

• She says she uses what she calls a ‘resume review’ of their own life experiences and what got them to the point they are at today, which then replaces the thoughts around the imposter syndrome.

• This strategy, she notes, often helps get the brain aligned with the idea that they can do the things they felt minutes ago that they were an imposter at.

• She also has people create a resource list so that when you really don’t know what to do in a given situation, you know who you can go to for help.

• She breaks things down into categories of strengths, things you’re improving at, and things you absolutely need to get help with.

• She says you should focus on the things that you’re great at and improving at, and finding help for the things that you are not.

Ron says that some people experience failure very vividly for them. He asks Robin how she dances with that.

• Robin says she typically doesn’t deal with that very well, asking herself, or her clients, if she likes feeling this way, how it is serving her, and whether it will help.

• She says it’s a psychological technique to help realize that focusing on the failure is not serving you.

• Robin notes that having that direct confrontational conversation with your own brain can help reshape those experiences in the future.

Michelle says when she works with people in that direct manner, she experiences quite a lot of push back, as people feel they are being attacked. She then asks Robin how she deals with that from her clients, and how she opens the clients up so they can hear what she is saying.

• Robin says she usually takes a step back and examines what it was exactly that made them feel defensive.

• Once she works her way through the history and finds the root of the issue, she says they can then begin to address that story and change it.

• Robin notes that being open to feedback rather than being defensive is where growth really happens.

Ron says that there are times when they are teaching that they are also learning things at the same time. He asks Robin what is something she has learned while teaching.

• Robin says there are times when she realizes in her teaching sessions that she is being hypocritical because she has not practiced what she is teaching.

• She says while she does not enjoy that feeling, it really personifies her clients for her and helps her better understand what they are going through.

• Oftentimes that feeling of hypocrisy reminds her that she needs to check in with her own coach, or touch base with herself.

• Robin also tells a story of when her clients have called her out, and how she opens up to them, exposing her own vulnerabilities, and how her client relationships have improved because of it.

• Ron says he experiences the same thing of when he expresses that vulnerability to his own clients, and how there is a different level of connection afterwards.

• Robin details the difficult transition from being a therapist to a coach, and changing her openness to her clients.

Ron says that having the ability to put down your own shield, as they were just talking about, is a great skill to be able to use to connect with others.

• Robin suggests the book “Talking Like Ted” to learn about the power of storytelling

• She says the stories are what people remember and hold onto

• She hopes the stories that people remember are the good ones and not the stories that hold us back

• Michelle adds that the stories are how we translate meaning from age to age and that this story can sometimes be helpful, and other times not

Join us to hear how understanding the idea of “self talk” — and what you can do about it — could change your relationships and life for the better.


Episode Summary

The Power of Changing Stories with Dr. Robin Buckley

In this episode of “The Story in Your Head,” Ron, Michelle, and guest Dr. Robin Buckley discuss the power stories have over each of us, how difficult it is to change the stories that no longer serve us, and the impact it can have on your life by opening up and allowing your story to change.