REAL CONFIDENCE EPISODE 2 - I’m In Recovery and It’s Not What You Think
If you're smart and work hard, but just aren't where or who you want to be. Welcome to your podcast. Real confidence. I'm your host Alyssa Dver, and I'll be sharing a bit of brain science, some surprising social secrets and a touch of tough love, because I believe confidence is everyone's fundamental, right and choice. So, let's get to it.
I'm in recovery. But it's not the kind that you think. So, another confession, there we go. I put on about 10 pounds, easily, 10 pounds during COVID and that was already on top of the 30 extra pounds. At least I was carrying around oh gosh. [00:01:00] Longer than I can even recall. So yeah, not feeling fine in that skin of mine.
And truthfully, I've never been really thin, except apparently when I was born, it was a small baby and I still have a hard time believing because every childhood picture, every high school yearbook photo, you know, I was in sports. I was very athletic, and I did even group exercise back in college. You know when Jane Fonda was sporting those beautiful legwarmers, making them, look pretty hip then.
I mean, that's how long I've been kind of active, but you know, just never was that kind of skinny bony, muscular type. And I was okay with that. You know, I don't think I would consider myself a really fat until yeah babies. Blame, the babies get pregnant, and everything goes to hell in a hand basket. In terms of your exercise, in terms of your diet, what made it worse is my sister was pregnant at the same time. I was at least the first time around. And I remember going to, Friendly's a good old ice cream shop that is hard to find these days and, you know, ordering up fries and Sundays. Why? Because we were eating for two seriously. I think we're eating for 10, but you know, that was not the finest decision-making at the time, but we certainly had a good time and a lot of fun.
And of course, the result is these beautiful children, but can't really blame them either. So, I did get back to do an exercise routine. I remember going to the gym a couple times a week, doing some really heavy-duty cardio, but a lot of it had to do with my little friend group there. And I just did an interview if you haven't heard it yet, a podcast with Caroline Dawson talking about kind of workout confidence and what holds back, and she made the statement that. She really sees a big difference with people's workout, commitment, and effectiveness when they have a friend group, then there's a reason to kind of go and see and be, and social and all that.
And I definitely saw that effect when I was exercising at the time. But then we moved and moving meant going to a new gym and the new gym just doesn't have that kind of vibe doesn't have that. I dunno, maybe it's just because it's bigger and there's more people or I don't know what the heck it is.
It's that go in the day now as opposed to the evening. So, a lot of different variables who knows, but bottom line is I stopped exercising as aggressively. And again, that was maybe like 12, 13 years ago. And so, yeah, still active, but not quite that same and menopause and all that other great stuff that happens.
And here we are feeling well fat. So, I was teaching the MetaConfident class, which is one of the programs we run once in a while. It's really an awesome program. And we have four weeks of classes, people pick an issue that they want to wrestle to the ground using one of our tools called the key confidence indicators.
And in that exercise, I ask people to go through the seven, eight rather, key confidence indicators and figure out one that they just feel as lagging. And then we ask them to pick something they can do to kind of pick it up. Right? So of course, I'm asking everyone to do this. People are picking things relative to their career.
In some cases had some friends’ issues, and, and of course this was during COVID. So, there was a lot of remote kind of isolation issues on the table. But, well, I didn't tell the class at the time I told them afterwards, I actually thought, you know, I got to practice what I preach. And so, I was like, let's just deal with this weight thing once and for all.
And so, I did and asked a bunch of people, my sister, some friends, you know, what were they doing? What was working? And found a lot of good advice, a lot of Ideas, I should say, and settled on doing a little bit of intermittent fasting, which I thought was insane, but more I read about it, thought why not just give it a try?
And also, somebody told me to download the Peloton app, even though I didn't have the equipment, just do the app. It's like 13 bucks a month and see how it goes. And lo and behold I've been doing both for a while. Lost eight pounds so far, thank you knock on wood. Six-Seven weeks later. Massive because losing weight for me is certainly not something I enjoy or is easy.
But I made a commitment and I stuck to it and every day get up and do, even if it's just 10, 20, 30 minutes, max of some exercise, whatever it is still popping over to the gym once a week to see my girl, Caroline. And if it's not fallen off my body it's at least fallen out of my brain is something that I'm not dealing with.
That is the key behind everything we talk about confidence is when you make a decision to do something, and you make a confident, certain decision that this is something that you value need and want. Yeah. That brings confidence. That makes you feel confident. And of course once you get going. Once you start and you do it again.
And again, we get the benefit of some endorphin dripping to motivate us. We get people complimenting that we look good. So, it builds on that cycle of reinforcement, very extrinsic per se, in that state, but it still helps. It still makes us want to do more. It makes you feel proud that you made a decision and you stuck with it.
So, whatever your issue is, if you're a fellow COVID weight gainer, or maybe you just haven't reached out to people that you really care about in a while, or maybe you have a job that you really hate. Well, I don't care what it is, making a decision to do something about it. And even if it's a small step in that direction, boy, that's awesome.
It's awesome. But you know, when I look back and I think about what caused this, what, what was really the root of all this, I can blame the baby weight or menopause or whatever, but you know what, I'm gonna really focus on the last couple months of COVID as not so much a once in a lifetime situation, but I think it really was symbolic of how things in our life traumas of things that we cause or other people cause, or in this case, the world's causes can put us into cognitive chaos. Right. So. Cognitive chaos, in my own little definition is this, this fog, the situation where your wheels are spinning, maybe 24 by seven, hard to sleep, get to sleep, stay asleep, hard to focus, right?
This cognitive chaos. It makes us so distracted. Right? We can't really pay attention even to a conversation. Maybe you're reading a book and a page later you're like, whoa, I don't even remember what I read. Maybe you're trying to get a project done and you just really don't have it in you. I know sometimes they sit at my desk even for a podcast and I'm like, what am I going to talk about?
And it it's impossible for me to just keep that focus. And of course, it makes us exhausted. It makes us so bloody tired because even though we're not working out physically, we are working out mentally and there is a use of energy or use of cognitive resource that when it's depleted, we get tired.
We have fatigue, decision fatigue specifically, and it makes us harder for us to decide what to write, how to tackle something. And that's real, that's a real feeling. So. What happens when we get there? Well, we tend to say is important as something is the project, the person, the task, whatever it is, we ignore it. We try to ignore it, or we push it into what I will call a cognitive classic. We push it to the back of our brain was that we'll deal with it later. We'll deal with it another time, cognitive closet. And you know, it's a lot like a clothes closet, you know, where we keep our stuff, our wardrobes, because I bet, we all have some clothes that we don't actively wear, but we don't have the motivation or interest or whatever it is to toss them out.
We just stayed to ourselves, maybe it'll fit someday, or it'll come back and tell I'm going to stick it in the back of the closet and I'm going to deal with it another time. Right. I'm I deal with it when I need it. When I want it. When I have an opportunity to wear it when I need something of that shape or color for when again, I finally lose the 20 pounds, I'm going to fit in it again.
So, we tossed in the back of our physical closet, but it's a lot like that cognitive closet. I mentioned, we toss things in the back because clothes in our closets, our physical closets take up space. It makes it harder for us to access the stuff that we really do want to wear, the stuff that makes us look great.
The stuff that makes us feel good, that the extra clothing in the back. Yeah, it's in the back, but it's making those rocks tight and hard to find stuff. And I know when I clean my closets, my literal closets and I toss out stuff. I have that moment. Oh, well, what if I want to wear that? And when I'm done, when I see the result of that closet, that I can see all my beautiful things.
Now, the things that I love to wear, it's cathartic. It makes me feel so good and accomplished and productive. So. Again, I think the cognitive closet is very similar. We stuff our brains with all kinds of stuff. That's not important, right. Or we're stuffing our brains. Unfortunately, with all the worries we had in the last year and a half about which, you know, should we wear a mask, what color mask, can we go out?
Who can we see? Which vaccine, where are we going to, like all these decisions? All these fears, all these worries, all these issues, you know, how are we going to teach our kids at home? Should we send them to school, the decision, whether you're going to send them or not you name it. We had decisions flying at us at a pace that was really quite unique.
I hope is quite unique, but in reality, we make those kinds of decisions, and we have those decisions flying at us all day long. You know, think about Facebook, you know, maybe it's your happy place to go, just get a reprieve. But we're deciding literally on Facebook, who to friend, what to like where to scroll, I mean, full of decisions, you may not feel like it's hard lifting decisions, but there's still decisions who to text, what to text, or are they going to think if I write this then I'm a jerk.
If I write this, do they get to pick up cool. All decisions? So, we have cognitive chaos. Regardless of COVID and then we, again, take some of that stuff. That's really important. The stuff that really matters to us and stuff that we want to focus on, and we shove it in the back of our cognitive closet, and we say, we'll deal with it when we have more time, more space and that time or space, unfortunately, it doesn't always happen.
Or if it happens, it happens way too late. And we realized, shoot, if I had only focused on that, then. If I only was really paying attention at that moment, I would have made different decisions. And that regret, man, that is confidence crushing. No kidding. That failure, that inability to at the moment, make your best decision that lives with you for a really long time.
So how can we clean out that cognitive closet? Well, that's why I'm in recovery. You know, I made the decision not just in the metacognitive class to lose weight and start the journey, but I really realized around that time that I had a lot of stuff going on in my life that if I didn't pay attention, I would really kick myself forever.
So, I wanted to give my brain the ability to reorganize and reprioritize. And how do you do that? You know, what do you do? Well, one of the keyways to do that is to sleep. Sleep. One of my heroes’ podcast and otherwise is Arianna Huffington, Huffington Post and then some Thrive Global, she's an incredible entrepreneur and thought leader.
And one of her big missions in life is to get us all to sleep more. And she's got all kinds of data about the importance of sleep. So, a great source for that, one of many, but a really good and easily accessible one to get to, you know, she says that more people have car accidents, not because they're drunk, but because they're tired. They're exhausted and they're not making good driving decisions at the wheel or falling asleep at the wheel.
Now sleep is a fuel to your brain. It's a fuel because it allows those neurons to recharge, to refill their resources. But also, when you're sleeping, your brain does some really cool things. It literally goes into what some neurologist called dishwasher mode. So, it cleans out all kinds of things. First it prunes some of the neural pathways that started to form that really aren't relevant.
All those cat videos and other garbage that you've taken in during the day, your brain is actually going through and washing that away. But it also goes, and it cleans out some of this organic plaque stuff that builds up in your brain during the day. It's a natural process, right? It's just part of the way our brains operate, but that plaque, without giving you the long technical name, we'll just call it brain plaque to make it easy for now that brain plaque is what many are touting.
Many neurologists’ scientists are touting as the primary cause of Alzheimer's. So, we want to get rid of that pack and you can't really go in and brush it like you can your teeth. But what you can do is during your sleep cycles, your brain goes in and washes it out. So good. Sleep enough, sleep critical to recovery, critical to cleaning the cognitive closets.
Not always easy to do, right? Sometimes I find myself falling asleep easily, but then waking up a lot and more and more actually in the last several months, preoccupied with all kinds of things COVID and otherwise. So, making an effort to sleep, to find better ways to sleep. My husband has this app that he downloaded, and it's really helped and track and figure out where his problems were sleeping.
And sometimes it's just a matter of getting a better pillow or maybe getting a night guard if you're grinding your teeth or not watching TV, the news, playing games, whatever it is on your, your devices before you go to bed. Maybe it's doing a little meditation. Maybe it's taking a little melatonin as my 18-year-old son has taken a liking to, you know, what you got to kind of experiment and figure out what works for you but focusing on really getting better sleep. Oh man, it is really, really key recovery thing. But in addition to that, I think part of this recovery plan for all of us has to be to not only give our brains a break, but to really be more present, to be more mindful of things that are important and, and calling yourself out to say, I'm going to focus. I'm going to put my attention here. And so, there were three things that I made that decision to do three things that I know that not only can I do better, but if I don't do them better, I will regret later. So, the first thing is that I have both my kids graduating.
Actually, one of them at this point of this recording graduated two weeks ago. Zak graduated from University of Vermont and Ben will be graduating this Saturday. So, putting my focus on the process of those things, right? Lots of moving parts, all kinds of things that they needed support and help to get through really taking moments and appreciating this major milestone for both of them.
Yeah. I can do that. I have to do that. I want to do that, but making that commitment to do that, making sure that at the graduations, I'm not paying attention to other people and what they're wearing or waving to all my friends, but really focusing on the beautiful accomplishment that my boys and of course, myself and my husband, Jeff, we all have reached. Starting to tear up, just talking about it. Really important. So that was my first kind of mindful commitment, cognitive closet, get it cleaned and organized so I can focus there.
My second one is we made a decision when COVID started, but it was kind of a longing and coming decision. It was just kind of absolutely clear that, that we wanted to build a pool in the backyard. So we've been doing that. And the pool is done. Patio is not done yet, so we're not fully accomplished, but the pool and all the aspects of it, the journey I've been photographing and journal journaling it, cause again, it's another major milestone and accomplishment. But as part of that, I said, you know, in the summer, starting in June, I'm going to cut back on my work schedule.
I'm going to cut back. And that for me meant 10 to 2, Monday through Thursday only. I mean, that's enormous for somebody who works every night and every weekend for the last 30, 40 years, you know, cutting it back to that. Huge. And yeah, so in my calendar links, everything that's what I did a major. Am I committed to doing it?
You better believe it now, does that mean maybe I won't take as many meetings or speaking engagements a good thing. I won't speak because apparently, I'm having a hard time saying anything. Yeah. It means cutting back on everything and cutting, back on the revenue. Cutting back on the revenue.
That's a hard one for somebody like me, an entrepreneur, somebody who's highly accomplished and you know, pushes to get those dollars in. But you know, what more important than the dollars right now is enjoying the pool. All the people I haven't seen forever spending a summer with my kids who, after this, you knows there'll be in different directions. It's the first summer they'll actually be home in a long time. And really taking advantage of that. Beautiful, very large, very, very welcoming pool in the backyard. Yeah, that was my second.
My third commitment. My third recovery pillar, this one's hard is. I have always a sense of urgency. I want everything to happen yesterday, and I get frustrated when other people aren't on the same timeline. So being more patient and trying not to freak out. When things are taken longer than I want them to. Yeah. There's so much, that's not in our control in general. And of course, right now, still, as we're not quite through the COVID crisis, everything takes longer. Everything's more complicated. So, I am going to not lose cognitive cycles over that if I can avoid it and just remind myself that right now, I'm in recovery. I'm not in aggressive, go get em’ mode and take it easy. Give your brain a break mode. Don't get upset over stupid stuff. Don't get upset over things that are taking longer than you think they should, because that's all it is is that you think they are not as fast as they should be.
That one's hard. Now on that note, that I think they should be, or that the universe thinks they should be I do believe that there's a time and place for everything. So, after our quick sponsor break, I want to share with you a little bit on the woo woo side, but something that I think is incredibly wonderful spiritually and otherwise that happened just this morning, that proved to me that I need to be in recovery. And perhaps you do too. I'll be right back.
This podcast was sponsored by the American Confidence Institute, ACI trains, smart, hardworking people, how to use basic brain science to more effectively coach themselves and others. ACI is endorsed by top universities, the strategic HR Management Association, and the International Coaching Federation. Learn more about ACI and its uniquely empowering keynotes workshops, CE classes, and coaching certification at www.americanconfidenceinstitute.com.
Thanks for sticking with me here. I'm talking about this idea of kind of a brain recovery, cognitive closet, cleaning brain recovery and getting my life and my mojo and my energy and my motivation all back on track after a very long year of chaos. Right. So, it is really about slowing down. The recovery is about slowing down and processing.
The important moments processing and appreciating and being present in those moments that really matter. And during those moments that matter, it means, yeah, you still have to be able to take in new data and you have to make room for that data. You have to make room for that information that's coming in that.
Memory that you want to hold on to whether it be at graduation or floating in the pool, or just being able to hug that friend and remembering how awesome that feels. You gotta make room in your head for it. So, data doesn't all have to be about making hard decisions, but it is about making room and decisions to take in that information to process it and appreciate it.
And I'm not talking about being grateful, but just appreciate what it is. Right. Appreciate that you are alive, and you can take in beautiful things like that and enjoy them. If you're paying attention. So, speaking of paying attention, I kind of dropped a bomb on you guys before, cause you knew me as the neuro nerd, but I'm also very spiritual.
I do believe, as I said earlier, a time and place, I believe in fate, I believe in signals from the bigger universe outside of my own body and brain. And I mentioned before that I've been doing the Peloton app and I was doing a cycle program this morning. It's not my favorite piece of equipment. Trust me. And I don't have a Peloton bike. It's just, I'm not loving the stationary bike, but I do it because I know it's a really good, important aspect. And then I do it once a week and it's done and I mix it up with other things. So today was my cycling day and I got on the cycle. And the first thing that the instructor and this was a new instructor that I picked this morning said was that it was a recovery ride. Oh, my God. I thought what a bizarre coincidence I queued up this podcast and here I was on a bike and she's talking to me about doing a recovery ride. It was definitely a universe shout out. And she, unlike all the other instructors so far that I've experienced, she wasn't skinny muscle bulging type, but rather she looked like me and she started her playlist with lady Gaga, song The Cure.
So, I was like, yeah, we are so inline and at the end of the workout, I was in tears, and it wasn't because it was so hard or that I was so grateful, but I've been channeling in the last several months, my inner Stevie Nicks, you know, my hair grew about seven inches during COVID. So, my hair is really long again. And I'm wearing these big hoop earrings cause I can. And wearing my hair all curly and wavy, kind of like Stevie's, but also with all the tie dye fashion out these days, I'm feeling boho. My friends I'm feeling like, you know, little bit laid back and cool. Maybe that's part of my recovery mode too, but definitely channeling some Stevie Nicks and the last song on the playlist today.
And that cycling thing was the song Stevie sings called Dreams. And. It sounded an awful lot like Stevie, but funny enough, when it popped up on the screen, it wasn't Stevie Nicks singing. It was a singer who I had never heard of called Lissy. Lissy happens to be my childhood and family nickname.
So, there was Stevie Nick-ish singing to me about dreams, closing down the cycles, recovery ride. Confirming to me that everything's not only going to be all right, but it is all right, because I made that decision to clean the cognitive closet and be there. And so happy tears. Grateful cheer tears, and you know, with dreams, I'm going to take that into my head. I'm going to let my brain refuel. I'm going to clear out those COVID cobwebs and whether I'm literally floating in my new pool or just floating in the joy of being able to be calm and cool and yeah, baby confident. Boy, I feel good now. It feels good. It feels right. And I hope it does for you too. So.
Whoo! We're going to shut down this podcast a little different than they're different than the others, perhaps, but like always got to remind you that the greatest way to get confidence is to give it and giving it to other people is really easy whether you let them know that they matter, remind them that they belong, tell them that they're rocking your world.
And there's an easy way that you can rock mine, give it some confidence back to me. It's just like share this podcast and any of the others. If there's somebody out there that you think could use a little bit of cognitive recovery, please send them the link. Let me know if there's other topics or how you feel about this one.
Communicate cause that makes me feel really confident with people letting me know that they're listening. They like it and or they have questions or ideas that makes it really awesome. So. For today, this is Alyssa. Dver go give some confidence, get some more for yourself. Clear those covert cobwebs and stay tuned for more in the future.
Thanks so much for bringing confidence to the world.
This podcast was produced by Mindful Media. All Rights Reserved by Alyssa Dver and the American Confidence Institute. Music written and performed by Jeff Weinstein.