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Stuck in a loop? Try interrupting it!

As Marie sat in yet another interview she froze again. Her inner critic was admonishing her for not knowing the answers to the questions. For not being young or hip enough. The attack continued as her inner critic convinced her they did not like her and no one would ever hire her again.

Marie left the interview feeling dejected and despondent. She wondered if she would ever be able to get out of this loop she had been stuck in.

She worked with therapists before but they couldn't help with this problem. And she didn't need a career coach, one had already shown her how to update her resume. They couldn't help with the debilitating self-doubt she experienced. Marie needed someone that would take a holistic approach. A guide that would bridge the emotional and professional worlds. Someone who would listen. Someone who would collaborate with her instead of just telling her what to do.

She asked me for help because she wanted to get out of this loop and knew my style as a coach fit her unique needs. She was one of the first coaching clients I shared the Neuroscience of Conversation tools with. In fact, the work we did together served as the basis for the Pattern Rewrite process and Trigger Reaction Loop I have come to use with many other clients.

We quickly identified that she could not simply avoid the trigger. That meant, Marie had to learn how to navigate these conversations without self-destructing. By the end of our second session, she was in the third step of the Pattern Rewriting Process - Interruption.

After the first session, Marie identified the feelings and thoughts she experienced when triggered. She even identified their origin story. Having this self-awareness empowered Marie to take back control in the moment when she experienced the trigger. Marie knew what thoughts and sensations to look out for as indicators to experiment with a pattern interrupt.

There were five specific pattern interruption techniques she decided to experiment with - breathing, walking, playing games, listening to music, shaking her arms and asking herself reflection questions. At the same time, I continued to encourage her to approach this work with curiosity instead of self-judgment or ridicule.

This is one of the benefits of approaching this work as a series of experiments. When we recognize that our plans are simply experiments we give ourselves permission to make mistakes and learn as we go. In contrast, when we make plans that are decrees, we often set ourselves up for failure because we don't give ourselves permission to course correct.

Within a week, Marie saw positive benefits from her experiments. "Practicing Pattern Interruption has reduced the amount of chatter from my inner critic, which is nice!"

The Pattern Interrupt experiments shifted her thinking in a positive way. She started to feel excited about her job prospects instead of leery. Instead of fixating on the negative, she gained insights into how to further her efforts. Marie started to have a lot of empowering realizations she wrote about in her journal. As an introvert, she created a persona to help her teach years ago and she realized she could benefit from developing a new persona now.

Within six weeks, Marie had rewritten her limiting pattern. She broke free from the loop that had constrained her because she committed to doing the work. Anytime she experienced negative chatter she flipped her thoughts. Marie continued jouranling as a way of getting unstuck. This overall shift in thought patterns led to her having more positive routines like eating healthier and exercising. She also felt happier. And within a month of completing our work together, Marie landed her dream job.

Are you ready to experience a personal or professional transformation? One of the benefits of Journal Jams is the generous sharing from others - their experiences, ideas and practices are a valuable source of inspiration for your own journey. Checkout our next Journal Jam and experience a profound shift with just 20 minutes of journaling.

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