OMATAS Blog

Episode 4 – Finding the Energy for the Day – The Lauren Edmunds Podcast

Episode 4 – Finding the Energy for the Day – The Lauren Edmunds Podcast

“So the first thing I want to talk about, it’s something that came to me when I first started working in the space of corporate facilitation. It was a program called Investment in Excellence. Lou Tice was the presenter, I think he was the owner as well, and there are a number of concepts that he brought through and was so interesting because all of those concepts so beautifully in what neuroscience is saying now. And the concept I want to bring to you today is he called it goal setting to and through. And I see this in my own life and I see it in with the people that are around me that our goal setting is has become perhaps too big too large, that we’re making it too academic in a way. “

Podcast Transcript

Hi, I’m Lauren Edmunds, and this is the Lauren Edmunds podcast. I’m talking all things education and parenting for children in the primary school years, but specifically for remedial and special needs children. I hope to give you my insights that I’ve gained over the last 12 years of in-field research, owning a special needs school in Johannesburg, as well as the academic research I’ve been doing for decades. I hope you enjoy it.

I want to talk today a little bit around stress, but I’m going to take the conversation in a different direction rather than to talk about stress itself. Because as much as we all need to speak what’s going on with us, we all need to speak it out, we all need a strong shoulder to lean on, we all need our people around us to help us manage what we’re going through.

There are things we need to think about. And I’m hoping I can give you some… pearls of wisdom, some ways to think about what’s going on for you. And it does seem like stress is at an all time high. There’s statistics worldwide to say that that is the case. Anxiety is increasing, productivity potentially is decreasing.

So I’m gonna talk around this a bit and where I’m coming from and my point of view. And I’m talking at a time now when we’re going into winter in our country and swine flu is hitting us and influenza B is hitting us and perhaps some more COVID and we’re feeling like we’re not coping, but it’s more than that. It’s what is the health of our nation? What is the health of our families? What is the health of our children like?

But moving away from that question, I’m going to talk a bit about ways of thinking that can give so much of that energy back to you as a parent, as an adult. And I’m going to ask whether that would be something you would want. Do you want your energy back? And perhaps a question prior to that is, have you spoken out your trauma enough? Have you dealt with your trauma, enough to be able to take a big breath and look and lean into potential solutions for yourself.

So the first thing I want to talk about, it’s something that came to me when I first started working in the space of corporate facilitation. It was a program called Investment in Excellence. Lou Tice was the presenter, I think he was the owner as well, and there are a number of concepts that he brought through and was so interesting because all of those concepts so beautifully in what neuroscience is saying now. And the concept I want to bring to you today is he called it goal setting to and through. And I see this in my own life and I see it in with the people that are around me that our goal setting is has become perhaps too big too large, that we’re making it too academic in a way.

We’re trying to find the best way to goal set and there’s fear setting and there’s habit stacking and all of that has a place for sure. But I wanna hone in on something really, really specific that our brains, our brains, our bodies, our minds, our entire system is designed to work towards a goal that we’ve set, a vision, a mission, whatever you wanna call it, work towards something that we want to achieve, give us enough energy for that, and then deplete that energy afterwards. And in my mind, the depletion is the state of rest. So linking back into stress, I do think that we are struggling to rest, and what we think rest is actually isn’t. And I’ll get into that a bit later and what I think about that. But our entire body is designed to reach the goal line. It’s designed to reach the finish line.

And 20, 30 years ago, they did incredible experiments with, I think it was road runners, and they had a, I’m going, that’s the data is not gonna be correct. I’m just gonna remember what I can remember. But it was something like a half marathon, what 42 kilometers, or maybe it was 22 kilometers, or something like this. And what they were researching was when people collapse. And if you look at something like a comrades marathon, for example, and you watch the finish line, can get themselves to the finish line unless something massively medical happens to them.

They can get themselves to the finish line and typically they collapse or they’re exhausted after the finish line. So what they did in this research is the one year they made the race, I think that the first time they made the race, 100 meters longer, just 100 meters longer. Didn’t tell anybody, they just extended the race somewhat and still everybody collapsed straight after the finish line.

Then the next time they ran the race a year later, they made the finish line 100 meters shorter than the original distance. And everybody again collapsed at the finish line. And the science that came out of this research was that we are teleological in nature. We, our brains are designed to hone in on what we want and work towards that. And when we get there, the energy dissipates because we’re done, we’re there. So the idea of goal setting to and through is goal set to the finish line, but if you, as you get closer to that finish line, you can see it coming.

If you can reset a second goal, you can resurge that energy. Now, the question of course is, would you want to do that or do you want to rest? But every time we set a goal for ourselves, we have enough energy for this. So marathons aside, let’s think about how we get through our day and how exhausted we are and at what point we become exhausted. And then the question I have is,

Did you set a goal to get to that point? Or are you becoming exhausted before you reach a goal? So let me give you a very practical example. You’re at work, your child at school, you know that they’re gonna go to aftercare, that’s fine, you’re gonna finish work, you’re going to leave work at five o’clock, you plan to do that, and all you’re trying to do is get to the school, pick up your child, perhaps get to the shops to pick up bread and milk that you need and get home. And you manage to get all of that done, and you get home and you just collapse on the couch. I can’t make dinner, this is too much, I can’t get it done. And that is goal setting.

So we goal set that this is where we wanna get to and then we find enough energy to get there. Obviously, well not obviously, let me state something that might not be obvious, mental illness plays a role in this as well. So if you are fighting off clinical depression, huge levels of anxiety, that’s going to deplete you far quicker than what your system can rejuvenate you to achieve those goals.

So let’s take those things out of the picture just in terms, just for now. So we goal set to pick up our kid, get to the shops, get bread and milk, get home, and we’re exhausted. So the idea of the science behind it is that if you change your goal, if you change your goal to go and pick up your kid, go to the shop, get bread and milk, get home, make the dinner, there’s a strong chance you get all the way to that and then can’t do the dishes because that’s on the other side of your goal.

Now the next day, let’s say you goal-set to pick up the kid, go to the shops, get the bread and milk, get home, make the dinner and do the dishes. You’ll be exhausted after that. Now you can’t read the story to your kid because you’ve got no more energy. So what happens if you goal-set to pick up your kid, go to the shops, get the bread and milk, go home, make dinner, do the dishes, spend quality time with your child around the dinner table, do the dishes with them as a chore-based connection time, get them off to bath, get them into their pajamas, rest with them in bed at night, read them a story, allow them to go off to sleep, and then you’re exhausted.

Perhaps you’ve got a really stressful job and what you need to do is you need to do all of that, read to them, get them off to sleep at night, and you don’t have the luxury of being exhausted at that time and you turn back to work and you work until midnight, and then you’re exhausted. So I wanna give you this idea that, if you’re finding that you’re not getting through your day and you don’t have enough time for people that are really important to you like your children or your partner or any family member or anything, your studies might be important to you.

Getting a project done that you’re going for in terms of maybe getting an increase or a promotion at work. When things are important to you, we tend to be able to find the energy for them because we are teleological in nature. So that’s the thing that I want to speak to you about is could you test this? Could you think to yourself, let me set a different goal for tonight and let’s see if I’ve got enough energy. And then the second thing, of course, is are you getting enough rest in between that? Because if we’re using this science around goal setting, are we also understanding that we cannot continue to go, we have to rest? And how are we resting?

So recently I was talking to someone about rest like an otter, and go and Google it to see how otters just float in water and how they really rest and do nothing. Lying on the grass outside and cloud watching, getting into hammock and just swaying and just noticing things around you and not thinking too much. How are we resting? Because controversially, I’m going to say screens are not rest time, especially if we’re scrolling. So are we resting? And in the resting, do we collect those spoons up, those spoons of energy, so that we have enough spoons the next day to reach our goals.

And if we are suffering or dealing with any kind of mental strain or trauma in our lives, are we getting the support that we need in order to develop the robustness and the skills so that we can goal set and we can rest? And of course we need to talk about boundaries in that as well, but perhaps that’s a whole other discussion. But are we easily able to say, no, I can’t make it and leave it at that without making an excuse?

And perhaps I can talk into that another time. But there’s a lot of tools you can use that really give you your power back and get you out of the victim mindset and the vicious downward cycle that we put ourselves into where it gets deeper and deeper and start to ask ourselves, what do we want for ourselves? What kind of person do we want to be?

Are we so overwhelmed and we’re getting sucked into the overriding narrative that the world is in at the moment where life is hard and life is tough? And I think it’s a personal decision to make. I think getting help is imperative. I think getting information and trying things out for yourself is necessary. And really sitting down thinking what do I want for myself? And then what do I want for my family?

And am I in a position to do all of this? And if I’m not, what do I need to do to get there? And this is kind of, for me, it’s an empowering way to think, especially for parents that are overwhelmed with children with special needs and learning difficulties, with families that are going through trauma, who do I need to put into my life? And do I want a virtuous, beautiful upcycle? Or am I going to allow this downward spiral to carry on?

And I definitely would go into Alfred Adler’s work about separation of task and what is your task and not somebody else’s. And can you take that on? Can you live a purposeful, intentional day, week, month, year, life, that’s going in the direction that you would really like it to go and what help do you need in order to do that? I hope this has some value for you. I hope that you can listen to this a couple of times.

And think about what goal have you set for yourself today? And if you set one goal past it, just the next task, and set that I just need to make it to there, do you think you can get just a little bit more energy, just one more spoon, to get yourself to the next point in your day? Get yourself to quality time around the dinner table, because you want to, you seeing that as a… value for your family.

Yeah, that’s the challenge that I want to pass out to you is what values do you have? What kind of family life do you want to have? What kind of family do you want to be part of? And can you go sit into that just today? And then tomorrow when you wake up, just tomorrow, just one day at a time. Yeah, think on that.

Think on that. I think it can be valuable.

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