All of us have stuff that triggers us.  Sometimes they’re easy to spot, like when your partner asks you to pass the milk and a volcano erupts from your mouth.  The harder ones to recognise are the low-level trends of being irritated or annoyed or anxious by something or everything, or the subtle disappoint that creeps into life. 

We have a choice – allow those triggers to drag us down, or use them as a signpost to point us towards a better life.  When we’re guided through looking at them through a different lens, the lessons are powerful, and we move through that difficulty quicker than before.

Show notes

  • [0:45] Why launching a book has been a trigger for me
  • [2:25] The quote I read this weekend that was a gift to help me move quickly
  • [3:30] The first signpost I noticed that I wasn’t peacefully gliding through the launch
  • [4:48] How I got through it quicker  
  • [6:11] How to turn triggers into signposts to help you
    • [6:15] Be mindful of triggers – and the warning here!
    • [7:06] Use journal prompts to write or mediate to get you to the root cause
    • [7:37] Use the Active Learning Cycle – Reflect, Conclude and Plan what you’ll do next time this trigger hits
  • [8:30] The real benefit of frameworks:  They move you quicker through yucky emotions and triggers
  • [9:50] Why I love the mantra: Done is better than perfect


The things that annoy, irritate, and disappoint us have just as much power to reveal the truth about ourselves as anything else. Learn to linger with what provokes you.  Sharon Garlough Brown

Your brain uses distraction to steer you away from pain or discomfort Lisa Linfield

Step back and see this whole situation through a new perspective Lisa Linfield

When we consciously engage with our thoughts, we get to learn what’s going on below the surface Lisa Linfield

Signposts that guide us to an even better way of living Lisa Linfield

Links to other episodes

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Hello everybody, and welcome to today’s episode of Working Women’s Wealth.
As you may know, my book launches in a week and a half – which is one of the most exciting and daunting things I’ve ever done I think. OK, maybe the last two big steps were launching my podcast two and a half years ago, and leaving corporate three years ago.
My book, Deep Grooves, is subtitled Overcoming Patterns That Keep You Stuck. And it’s about exactly that – how we sense the gap in our lives between the life we have now, and the life we know we’d like to live to make sure we live our Best Life.
The problem about doing a book launch when you’ve written a book like that, is everything you write about rears up its head – all the fears of failure, the mean voices in my head – they’re all having a party in my body, and it seems every single insecurity’s been invited!!!! And, because I’ve written about overcoming patterns that keep you stuck in the safety zone, I feel I should be sailing through all of this, a master of the game.
Which, because I’m human, I’m not. So far from a master of the brave life I so long for each one of us to lead.
But I guess what I am, is more mindful. More mindful of the voices in my head, more aware of where those voices come from and the deeply ingrained grooves they make in my thinking and behaviour – and how they could potentially stop me from ever launching if I don’t keep them in check.

This week, I’ve been doing a daily study series on a book I read in April. There’s a quote in the book that has been playing around in my thinking:
The things that annoy, irritate, and disappoint us have just as much power to reveal the truth about ourselves as anything else.
Learn to linger with what provokes you. Sharon Garlough Brown

So as you can imagine, with just a week and a half to go, there is a ton of stuff at the moment that’s annoying, irritating and disappointing me. Which, if I just leave it there, is not useful emotions at all. They leave me feeling tired, drained, and not enjoying this journey.
But, because I’ve been journaling each day, and pushing myself to live more closely a life that includes working on me, this quote came at the perfect time. So I’m lingering with what’s provoking me about this journey to launch.

The first thing I’ve noticed is that despite how much I need to do, I’m also procrastinating. As we mentioned in two episodes ago, procrastinating is a form of Short-Term Hits of Happiness. Little tools your brain uses to steer you away from pain or discomfort, and towards nice happy things that give you a spike in the happy hormone dopamine.
Well, this last week has seen me use many short term hits of happiness.
• I’ve ticked off all the easy things on my to do list, to avoid doing the hard things, like building the website for my book
• I’ve discovered the online Uno game and have spent many hours with random people all over the world playing Uno
• My eating is up the pole, as I just looooovvvveee that sugar hit that makes me feel the world is good
• And I’ve watched every series possible on the satellite TV (I don’t dare even open Netflix or I’ll be doomed).

The problem is, all of this happens amongst pulling some serious hours, so sleep’s not doing so well in the battle. The mix of it all – knowing I’m not tackling the hard stuff, knowing I’m wasting time, the sugar hangover, and the lack of sleep – has left me way more irritable than normal. Throw in a few Covid-19 cases at school and the fact that the school closed and the kids are home, and you have a lot to journal about!

So, I pulled out the frameworks I write about in the book, and have spent some time over the past 4 days just digging deeper. As Sharon says, “lingering with what provokes me”. It’s the usual suspects: I’m terrified no one will like the book; no one will buy it; and I’ll feel like an idiot.

But through one of the exercises in the book that I’m taking the current companion course group through at the moment, I got to step back, and see this whole situation through a new perspective – one that has calmed me, and given me the focus and strength that I need.

There’s something about being conscious about your journey and not accepting being annoyed, irritated or disappointed as just yucky feelings that add no value – when we consciously engage with our thoughts, we get to learn what’s going on below the surface. In my book I refer to these as signposts – signposts that can guide us to an even better way of living. IF we do the work.

And the best upside of doing the work to understand what these yucky emotions are trying to reveal about ourselves is that you move through those emotions a lot quicker than if you didn’t do the work. Then, they linger as yucky emotions – instead of doing what they’re supposed to, warning us where our brain is perceiving danger.

So how do you use them as signposts?

  1. Recognise them as a trigger. Our brain responds to triggers. Sometimes they’re easy to spot, like when your partner asks you to pass the milk and a volcano erupts from your mouth. The harder ones to recognise are the low-level trends of being irritated or annoyed by something or everything, or the subtle increase in using Short-Term Hits of Happiness to avoid an underlying issue.
    • A side note on being hormonal – too often ourselves or others dismiss these signposts as hormone related. Be careful of that. I always used to say that if something was a 5/10 as a trigger, hormones can make them an 8/10. The issue is, there’s still something there. It’s too easy to make it a 0/10 and not do the hard work.
  2. Spend time reflecting by journaling the issue. I know some of you aren’t journalers, and that’s perfectly okay – if you are gifted enough to be able to deeply meditate in quietness, and sort through to the root cause of an issue, that’s great! Or, if you have a therapist you talk to, that’s also ok. Me, I’m not that talented! So I journal my thoughts – and I use different question structures for different issues.
  3. Don’t forget to come to a conclusion, and pan your next steps. The active learning cycle has four steps: Trigger; Reflect; Conclude; Plan. But most of us are simplistically thinkers or doers. The real power comes when you don’t just let your thoughts stay hanging… because that doesn’t move you forward. You need to conclude. Use questions like – so what have I learnt? So is that accurate? So if I could do it again, would I do the same thing? What this enables you to do is to move through the issue, not stay stuck mulling it over at 2am.

For me that’s the best thing I’ve discovered about these frameworks I’ve developed. The ability to move through them and onto a better way of being. I used to stay stuck in self-sabotaging thought patterns, and allow my inner critic and inner agro voice to go on-and-on-and-on. Now, I move through quicker than before. And its so much more constructive.

My conclusion and next steps for this anxiety I feel about the launch have been far more constructive. I acknowledge that I’m tired – as one usually is when you get to launch something. And, I acknowledge that I set myself an unbelievable task of going from no idea what I was going to write on 1 September, to launching a book on 13 July – just 10.5 months. The reason was good – that whilst it puts short term stress, it also means that you get the work done, and can move on.
The hard stuff I’m resisting at the moment would still be there whether I launched in July, August or November. So this is just the not-nice phase I need to push through.
I concluded that I’m going to do my best to do as professional a launch as I can. And whilst some things on launch day may not be as perfect as I’d like to have, I will embrace the mantra of ‘done is better than perfect’. And work to perfect it every day thereafter.
The actions I planned was to not expect myself to do everything on my list, but to prioritise those that are crucial. The first people who will buy my book are those who know me, like me and trust me. The rest will come as I step up the marketing efforts, and by then, the rest will be perfect.

So, for all of you out there who are finding yourself in a grumpy phase – or finding a specific human pushes your buttons, or a situation or topic of conversation sets you off, I strongly recommend you see it as a signpost that can point to a deep Ah-Ha moment that can lift the weight off your shoulders and help you to move through it quicker.

And, when the book launches in a week and a half on the 13th of July, it will be available on Amazon, Apple Books, and my website, immediately… and over the next few months, it will make itself into the biggest retail book stores in the US, the UK, Australia and South Africa. So I do hope you’ll look out for it and get it as I think it has the power to shift your thinking and help you move through life’s yucky parts in a better way.