Tune into Episode 22 – self-enquiry right here in your browser, find it on your favourite platform (head here for the links) or keep reading for a transcript.
Links mentioned in this episode:
The Inner Compass – 8 week online group coaching experience where we discuss and explore self-enquiry (among so many other things!).
I also said I’d drop some additional resources in the shownotes, so here they are:
Entrepreneurial Outlaws – Cyclical Planning (includes journal prompts)
Hi, hello and welcome to this episode of the Rules Are Made Up.
Today I want to talk to you about the concept of self-inquiry.
Now if you chuck those two words into Google, you will likely get a few different explanations. But what most of them have in common is that it is a practice and it’s the practice of looking inward, to building awareness of your thoughts and gently querying them.
Obviously that’s the inquiry part, but basically becoming aware of your thoughts and not necessarily dissecting them like a scientist, but just applying curiosity and sort of, you know, wondering what’s going on and what you’re thinking about and how that’s making you feel and it really helps you figure out what’s going on a lot of the time.
Self-inquiry you can do by just thinking through things, but a common way to practice it that you’re probably going to be very familiar with is journaling.
And another form, or a combination of journaling and meditation is another common way to practice self-inquiry.
Where meditation is basically, you know you try and build a bit of stillness and focus on being present and then you can journal right afterwards to see what you know, what are all the things that are surfacing in your brain?
Now before I chat a little bit more about the benefits of starting your practise like this, I do want to be clear that I’m suggesting this is something you can start if you’ve become aware of some crappy self-talk, like you know you’re being a dick to yourself sometimes.
Or if you want to explore certain thoughts that maybe you’ve started to notice a bit of a pattern that happens and you want to use, self-inquiry and I guess journaling in particular, but even self-inquiry as a whole. It can be a helpful way to explore why you might be thinking the way you’re thinking.
Obviously are also highly, highly recommend that you work with a mental health professional if that’s available to you or seek out some other form of support, ideally from a licensed and registered professional, depending on what thoughts and feelings and are coming up.
I need to put this disclaimer in – because depending on what is going on, you may stir shit up and I want you to know that you can seek support for that.
And you also absolutely do not have to go buy a notebook or journal and start practicing self-inquiry after you’ve listened to this episode, and you also don’t have to do it the way I might be suggesting it or touch on in this episode.
This is meant to give you an idea of what it can look like, but it is something so incredibly personal that I want to encourage you to find your own practice and your own way of tuning in to what’s going on in your mind.
Now that sort of leads me to talking a little bit about the benefits of building a practice like this.
Because it allows you to literally practice and experiment and build self-awareness and reflect and look at whether you start to notice patterns of certain thoughts or stories that you tell yourself.
Or you might start to notice certain situations that might trigger certain thoughts.
Like figuring out that scrolling on social media without a specific kind of goal, like checking on your friends feeds, starts to generate comparison thoughts because you see everyone else that you follow that might also run a business and you see how successful they are and then that makes you think like they have it all together and you don’t and then you feel like shit because you’re not where they are. And then you might even realise, you’re starting to get reactive and want to find 5 things that you need to fix right now so that you can feel better about yourself. (That may or may not have been a personal example, by the way.)
But without a practice of some kind that has you tuning in and purposely build awareness of what’s going on in your mind, you may not realise those things right.
There’s nothing wrong with not having this kind of practice, and there’s also nothing wrong with having those kinds of thoughts. That’s all normal. Because in a weird, twisted way, it’s like the comparison thing, is your brain wanting to keep you safe. Yes, brains are funny like that.
But practicing self-inquiry is a way for you to practice getting curious about your thoughts and the stories that you tell yourself. And to practice not coming from a place of judgement and criticism but coming at it from a place of kindness and compassion instead.
Right, like for example, if you use journaling and that could be with pen and paper or using, you know, doing it digitally with an app or even using a voice memo app like Voxer and just sending, you know, like literally just letting your thoughts just come out of your head verbally can help put a bit of a buffer in between your thoughts and your mind and it might even help you gain a bit of perspective about what’s going on versus how you can then respond to.
Because it puts it in a in a different place from taking it from inside your head to outside of your head, right and a really great thing about practicing it like that, so where you can see or hear what you’ve been thinking after the fact, enables you to actually respond to that very much from that place of compassion that I mentioned before, because you could try to imagine that you’re reading or listening what you’ve been thinking. But imagining that it’s someone else who’s telling you all those things, right? Like a loved one, a friend, you name it.
And then you can think about how you would respond to them so, it’s a way to not only practice that awareness, but also to practice that compassion.
Now I have a bullet point here to talk about tools of self-inquiry, but I feel like we already covered that. But to recap: journaling, using pen and paper or you know doing it digitally using some kind of journaling app is probably the most common way that you can practice self-inquiry, because you can write down prompts and questions. You can Google loads and loads of journaling prompts specific to you know what it is that you maybe even want to get your brain mulling over like it could be specific for a particular challenge that you’ve got, or you know to figure out what your goals are, those kinds of things.
There’s heaps and heaps of prompts available online and other podcast episodes, and I might, actually, I’ll find a couple of my favourites and I’ll chuck them in the show notes.
But even just practicing tuning in, like to just to start by paying attention to your thoughts and what’s going on in your mind can be a great place to start.
I’ve actually got a separate episode about that, which is Episode 14, which I’ll also link in the show notes.
All of that being said, if you’re like Neens – this all sort of makes sense, but I don’t really know where to start, can you just help me out?
Then I’d like to invite you to check out The Inner Compass and sign up if the information speaks to you.
The Inner Compass is a group coaching programme I created for the overthinkers, the worriers, the perfectionists out there who want to learn how to navigate life with more self-kindness, AKA being less of a dick to yourselves when shit hits the fan because it will.
Inside The Inner Compass, you’ll actually get (re-) introduced to self-inquiry, along with a load of other concepts and tools that you can practice and experiment with inside a supportive group environment.
While it is a group coaching program, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be on every call, or you have to be you know, in the Slack app that we’re going to use throughout the eight weeks together all the time. You can literally just sit back and consume everything, how much you want to take part is totally up to you.
The reason I’m telling you about the program at the end of this episode is because you can currently sign up and you can do that all the way until the 8th of July or the 9th if you’re in Aotearoa, because we get started the week of the 11th of July.
Of course, I will have linked the info page in the show notes and you can reach out to me wherever we’re connected if you have any questions about the program or just working with me in general.
All of the stuff that you need to know is in the show notes.
That is pretty much it for this episode, thank you again so much for tuning in to this podcast. I hope this has given you a bit more of a sense about self-inquiry and I’d love to know if it’s stoked your interest in starting your own practice, so again reach out to me wherever you were connected, I’d love to know.
Anyway, I’ll chat to you again soon. Until then, stay curious!